A Better Way to Die (2000) Poster

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5/10
Not Too Bad
NIXFLIX-DOT-COM27 August 2003
A BETTER WAY TO DIE is an entertaining, albeit mindless, low-budget action film. Like many films in this direct-to-video niche, there's no rhyme or reason to why things happen in DIE, except simply to say that things happen because it leads to other things happening, such as the constant gunfights and other action-related sequences.

Basically a string of shootouts and violent deaths linked together by an afterthought of a story, A BETTER WAY TO DIE is still quite entertaining. That is, if you manage to turn off your brain and realize that the reason cops never show up is because it would ruin the next upcoming gunfight.

Of note is Lou Diamond Phillips, who continues his string of Cheesy Villains in these direct-to-video action films. What has happened, Lou?

5 out of 10.
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8/10
A Unique Ride
clarkmc24 May 2009
I can see how this film could be tossed into the Violent Action or confusingly written low budget categories, but I found it to be a cut or more above those types of films because of its feel. It seemed to me more like a long waking nightmare than an action yarn. It was personal. Where Dirty Harry or Arnold type films tend to try to inject societal relevance, this is about what is happening to one lone guy's little world. It seems to start the usual way in the big city, but the road trip begins immediately after the cops vs bad guy shootout. Then it is just him against the darker side of the world.

Odd to say it, but it had elements in it of a gentle, thoughtful road film like Wild Strawberries. But these gentle experiences were incessantly subverted by the nightmarish downward spiral that was this day or so in the life of the antihero lead. Dr. Borg could not find an experience or place that could distract him for long from his regrets. Boomer's problems were less existential. He could not find a safe place, even to sleep. One thing led to another and every time it couldn't get worse it did. Sustaining that through the length of the film in writing and directing is quite an accomplishment and it all goes to Wiper. The other actors did a sturdy to inspired job of playing it on the money and not ruining the vibe.

I think of it as a Film Noir and it reminds me of an Edmond O'Brien character running afoul of Communist spies and their thugs. Constantly on the run, both to and from, never knowing what is around the next corner.

Without giving anything away, the other element running through the film is an amazing tale of, ultimately, redemption involving Boomer and Cleveland. It is of course given the necessary weight by the usual brilliant performance by Andre Braugher.

Much of the film had a claustrophobic quality to it, another departure from a typical action film. I don't say this often, but being in black and white would have taken as much away from this film as it would have added. It is pretty darn good the way it is. And it does not remind me very much of any other film I have ever seen. It is coming from another place entirely.
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6/10
worth watching but not essential
JamieWJackson7 June 2003
Nothing particularly unique about this movie, but it held my attention all the way through. Solid acting, direction, reasonably interesting story, good cast of characters; about the only complaint I would make is that I always felt like I was missing something. That's not specific enough to be of much use, I suppose, but it's as close as I can get to verbalizing my complaint. I give this one 6/10; watch it if you don't have anything else to do.
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Very good action / road movie
james_ian_miller12 December 2002
Warning: Spoilers
I personally thought this was much better than just an action film to satisfy the gun -hungry. It has the plot of a road movie, where the hero gets into one scrape after another, off which the writer / director can hang a plethora of quirky characters (the one-armed Flash, Karmic Hitman Andre Braugher) and incidents (an escape down a just-used dunny, a Carrie-like re-appearance), and with, as the ultimate goal, a reconciliation with his ex-girlfriend, the utterly gorgeous Natasha Henstridge. The driving force of this odyssey is the search for missing FBI agent Harry, in this case James and not Lime.

**POSSIBLE SPOILERS**

There is a certain dream-like quality to the whole film, similar, say, to `After Hours', and particularly Point Blank. In fact, at times I thought perhaps he was actually shot at the start, and the subsequent events were thoughts paralleling the path of the bullet through his brain. There is a Twilight Zone based on an Ambrose Bierce short story that does exactly that (during a hanging). Thus, a better way to die than the reality of being shot in an alley - being dispatched at the end of a spiraling sequence of events leading to an inevitable showdown. It doesn't look like the sort of film where the director was made to change the ending, but I'd have preferred him shot at the end, to complete the circle. A shame Flash died quite so quickly, as well.
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8/10
Highly Enjoyable
el_pieablo17 February 2004
Scott Wiper. Scott Wiper... The name doesn't ring a bell does it? Neither did it to me. I was browsing my friends DVD collection and came across this little gem. On asking him what was it like he said just watch it and see. So I did and found it highly enjoyable.

Scott Wiper is a young actor, writer, producer, director and has gathered himself a cast that would be at the top of any hollywood directors wish list. Joe Pantaliano, Lou Diamond Phillips, Natasha Henstridge and Andre Braugher. All involved in this movie are showing the acting talents that they are capable and are clearly having fun and this fun exerts itself over the viewer.

Scott Wiper is Boomer, a chicago cop, who becomes disenchanted with the big city life after a bust. He embarks on a road trip to get to former girlfriend, who still loves him, in the picturesque village of Cedar Falls. Then all hell breaks loss...

This film is notable for a few things. Wiper as lead actor, writer, and director, Joe Pantaliano in a typically strong performance as a bizarre one-armed detective named Flash, and how wiper has managed to create a movie that looks big budget on an obviously low budget. The fantastic locals and the brilliant action scenes hint at a director who could accomplish big things given the time and the money.

At times i was thinking that Boomer's day couldn't get any worse but this helps us in feeling more sympathetic towards him in his quest to get home.

Finally i highly enjoyed this movie and would recommend it to any self respecting fan of the action genre. A definate winner 8.5!
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Authentic action thriller
Mason-245 April 2002
I was pleasantly surprised with this flick, as it looked like a typical and un-original action film whereas it turned out to be fairly original and extremely entertaining. The central character is called "Boomer" and is played by Scott Wiper who is a very talented actor, director and writer and it seemed as though he put a lot of thought and effort into this movie, which really pays off. The opening scene is one of the best i've seen for a long time and is obviously influenced by the 'Quentin Tarantino' style of writing and film-making...which of course is a good thing. I was also surprised at the strength of the cast, which includes such hollywood names as Lou Diamond Phillips, Joe Pantoliano, Natasha Henstridge and Andre Braugher.

The highlight of this film has to be Andre Braugher's character 'Cleveland'. Cleveland is a fairly complex character and quite humerous, he's an assassin with a good heart and really makes the film much more entertaining (as do most of the characters). However, I was quite disappointed with some of this film as the big names such as Natasha Henstridge and Joe Pantoliano hardly get any screen time and I was very disappointed as I thought these actors/actresses would be significant characters, which they weren't. All in all 'A Better Way To Die" is an extremely entertaining action flick which takes you on a roller-coaster ride of action and surprises.
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not surprising but...
Kirpianuscus13 February 2016
a B movie. like a lot of others. same hero, same bad guys, same final. and the predictable line with the expected turn of events. but , after a time, it seems be different. maybe for the presence of Lou Diamond Phillips. or for the performance, who saves a lot, of Andre Braugher. it fact, the answer is not complicated. the ambition of a young director who dreams to do a film who , at first sigh, not propose something original but reflects his love for a movie genre is the pillar who sustains fights and gun fires, fake scenes and the classic love story. and, at its end, the film has the huge virtue to remember the old story about the war between good and evil in its basic essence. a good point for be indulgent about A Better Way to Die.
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6/10
Fun little action vehicle
Leofwine_draca17 January 2014
A BETTER WAY TO DIE is hardly a B-movie gem, and yet it's certainly an entertaining time-waster, a star vehicle and labour of love for a director/writer/actor you've never heard of and a movie packed to the brim with chases and shoot-outs. In terms of pacing this is an unstoppable movie with all manner of crime clichés and violent events to propel the slim storyline.

In essence, star Scott Wiper plays a down-on-his-luck type who finds himself pursued by multiple bad guys, including gangsters, dealers and corrupt government agents. It feels a bit like a Tarantino flick, something like TRUE ROMANCE, in that there are multiple criminals and they're all battling against each other. Wiper is instantly forgettable as a leading man but I quite enjoyed his work as writer and director here.

Star actors are low on the ground, but viewers are treated to Lou Diamond Phillips giving a laidback turn as a corrupt cop, HOSTEL's Rick Hoffman as a thug, Natasha Henstridge (SPECIES) as the love interest and another decent role for Andre Braugher (THE MIST). The action comes thick and fast and I'll admit it, I had a ball with this one, even if it's not something you'd want to watch again once you know what happens.
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7/10
better than you'd expect
hedin_8816 May 2008
When the movie started i thought that its gonna be just another one of those stupid ones where the most important thing is a car blowing up. That would be my guess but as the story developed after 15 minutes, the movie got better. A variety of good characters made it even better and a touch of humor even more. But this does not mean that things wont be blowing up. The story is also developing pretty good and it takes unexpected turns as the good guy turn bad and the bad ones turn good. The whole concept of a dude being in the wrong place at the wrong time is good and till the end you'll just be waiting for it to hit you with another new situation that you haven't seen before, nor later.
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5/10
Much better than expected, if that means anything.
poolandrews23 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
A Better Way to Die starts in Chicago where a cop named Boomer (writer & director Scott Wiper) witnesses the murder of his partner Carlos (Carmen Argenziano) during an undercover operation, he decides to leave both Chicago & the force & head out to the sticks to be with Kelly (Natasha Henstridge) the woman he loves. En route he finds himself dodging bullets & fighting for his life when he is mistaken for special agent Harrison James (Jefferson Moore) who the mob wants because of a computer chip with informant information on it & the Government wants him because of, well a computer chip with informant information on it. Seemingly everyone wants him dead as he tries to work out a solution to the situation he finds himself in...

Staring, written & directed by Scott Wiper this wasn't anywhere near as bad as I was fearing, in fact I'd go as far as to say it's a fun little action flick without ever being spectacular. The somewhat predictable & often routine action thriller script doesn't take itself too seriously & is fairly light hearted in tone, the character's are decent & the dialogue is alright even though it resorts to constant use of profanity & bad language on occasion. It moves along at a brisk pace & is never boring although the action scenes are somewhat repetitive & are a little low key, don't expect car chases & explosions every five minutes because you will be disappointed if you do. My main problem with A Better Way to Die is that every time it starts to get good the pace slackens & it never quite reaches the dizzy heights of greatness, every time it starts to get good the scene just fizzles out into nothing. The fight in the burning barn at the end & the shoot-outs are average action sequences rather than great ones & as a consequence A Better Way to Die is a touch forgettable, it's a good solid film which you can sit down in front of if it's on TV for free & waste 100 odd minutes in it's company happily enough but by the next morning you'll probably have forgotten all about it & I certainly don't think it's worth spending a lot of money on buying the DVD.

Director Wiper does a fine job here, it looks pretty nice & although the action scenes are distinctly average they are well shot & choreographed. It's just a shame about some of the poor editing during the shoot-outs, was this cut to get an 'R' rating? Is that why some of the shoot-outs look so choppy? Those outside the UK will have no idea what I'm talking about but while looking at the credits I noticed one of the producers was named Graham Taylor, I can assure everyone that it's a different Graham Taylor to the ex-manager of Watford, Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers & the Graham Taylor who had a disastrous time in charge of England when The Sun likened him to a Turnip when they superimposed his face on one of the vegetables all over their paper after we lost to Sweeden! Swedes 2, Turnips 1 was the headline... Still, at least us England fans can look back on it & laugh now, then again maybe not.

Technically the film is fine, it looks nice enough with decent cinematography & production values. The action sequences could have used beefing up a bit, I mean one blown up car & a blown up shed isn't much to get that excited about. The acting is fine, although there are some fairly experienced names in the cast the likes of Lou Diamond Phillips, Natasha Henstridge & Joe Pantoliano they have very little screen time & are more cameo appearances than anything else.

A Better Way to Die is a decent little action film, it's light hearted & has decent character's & an OK story but it didn't quite reach the heights of greatness for me I'm afraid. It's also rather predictable at times & nothing that we haven't seen before. If you can catch it on TV for free then go ahead but don't spend good money on it. Good but not great.
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5/10
not as good movie as I've expected it to be
nixona20 June 2001
I was surprised when I saw a familiar name - Mirjana Jokovic on the tape cover of the American movie in my local video store. (I must say that she's one of the best serbian actresses). First, I suppose that it must be some good drama or comedy, but it was an action movie and it wasn't special in any way. There was a lot of blood, killings, fights, explosions in it and, of course, a fabulous blond played by Natasha Henstridge. (What kind of movie would it be if there wasn't at least one beautiful blond in it?!) Mirjana played another girl in the movie, called Jelisaveta, and she had a few lines in Serbian language. It wasn't a big role (but I guess the money was good, 'couse I can't think of any other reason for her to participate in movie like this one). You can say that the story is a littlebit uncommon (there's some mix up about who's Harry), but it's adding up to a well-known story of one INDESTRUCTIBLE man against everyone: the Mafia, police, FBI. And, of course, he must have some cool phrase, like "I'll be back" or "Noone's nervous" to follow him along the movie, and this movie is full of it. And there's no need to mention illogical and ridiculous actions and plots. The end of the movie seems to be further and further away as we're coming to it, and even the writer seems to be out of idea so we can see our hero saving himself from the burning building two times in the same way. So, while I'm thinking once again about this movie I'm coming to the conclusion that it's much more worse than "not so good movie as I've expected it to be", but maybe I have expected too much.
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6/10
For men only!
=G=6 September 2001
"A Better Way to Die" is a macho little testosterone rush "sleeper" which follows a square jawed, lean and cut, sissy-voiced ex-cop as he wades through more "heavies" than a Weight Watchers convention. With two firefights even before credits, this terse action jammed drama with a sense of humor has an ever increasing body count as its rather ordinary good guys vs bad guys plot unfolds with cops, FBI, and mobsters duking it out and our reluctant hero invariably caught in between. The viewer is given a personal score to settle when the mob prematurely robs us of more vistas of Henstridge skin and good guys turn bad, bad guys turn good, bullet casings pile up, and the film waxes bloodier all the way to its conclusion. "A Better Way to Die" is best served with a sixer and big bag of chips.
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One of the worst films I've seen in a long time
akemeyer12 July 2003
I suppose if you enjoy nonstop death, guns and mayhem this film might be for you. But I felt that it was sorely lacking in many things, most in the areas of believability and plot line. Much of the dialogue was trite and insipid. The plot was quite disjointed and nonsensical in places linked together by spates of killing. I was embarrassed for such talents as Andre Braugher for having to appear in such a film but I suppose actors have bills to pay like the rest of us.
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Great action
casey_choas6614 July 2002
Finally someone is thinking about all those people who miss endless gun battles and loads of unlimited amunition from the days of Rambo 3, Commando and Desperado. This story of mistaken identity doesn't deliver much in the story or acting departments but the never ending shoot-outs and big explosions all but make up for it. This is the kind of movie that you just kick back and enjoy, no thinking required. Boy I sure do miss movies like this. Maybe it's just me but I sure do get a kick out of the dialouge in this film "Why don't we forgive, try to forget and share the f**king truck". I live for lines like that in action movies. This movie is a no brainer and I wouldn't have enjoyed it any other way, all action fans take note this movie will give you what you have been missing all these years.
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10/10
a work of genius or a quirk of entertainment
bitterlemon25 January 2007
This has been my favourite film for a while now and I make sure all my friends watch it at some point. It is simple and brutal, yet also more involved and clever every time you watch it. Despite knowing the film quote-by-quote I still have to watch it at least once a month or so; I really suggest you at least give it a try. The characters fill a colourful spectrum and all have a very real quality to them, with their own quirks and sayings. I have heard people try to pick out little flaws, but I say you can't be nit-picky with action films, and if you want to you can counter any argument with a bit of reason. That isn't the point, the point is like any film; to just enjoy it. If you are looking for everything and every emotion then look no further. I'm going to go and watch it now. I hope that you enjoy!
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5/10
Andre Braugher steals the show. What there is of it.
smatysia9 May 2006
It's a little hard to review this film. Yes, it's not really very good, and I cannot recommend it. But there were some things done well, in spite of itself. Scott Wiper did an OK acting job, considering the limitations of the script. However, since he wrote the script, he is due for some criticism. While many of the action sequences were done OK, there are a few howlers in there. (For example, car doors will generally not stop large caliber bullets, and cars usually don't blow sky-high when shot unless they are full of explosives) The plot involved Wiper's character having the worst day (or two) ever, sort of like Sean Penn in "U-Turn" squared. Fairly early on, some of the things made me roll my eyes, and wonder if Wiper was quietly trying to turn the film into total camp. He wasn't, and that's a problem when the viewer wonders that. Some of the characters were total howlers. But one word of praise; Andre Braugher more or less stole the show. I was not familiar with him. IMDb says he was in "Glory" but I do not recall his part. If there is any reason whatsoever to watch this movie (and there's really not) Braugher is it.
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6/10
Fairly amateur stuff, but not completely unwatchable
Scott Wiper. When I first heard his name, I immediately thought of it as one of those I have on my mental 'avoid all works by'-list. Then I looked him up, and found out that I remembered his name from the writing credit for the truly awful film, The Last Marshall. Being the forgiving guy that I am, I thought, "what the hey, he only wrote that horrendous piece of trash, maybe a film directed by him won't be as bad." Well, I was partly right. It's not as bad, but it is pretty bad. The plot makes no sense on any conceivable level. To give a quick summary, bearing in mind that I didn't pay much attention to the first ten minutes of the film(which seemed to make no sense and have no clear connection to the remaining 80, but maybe that's just me) and little to no attention to the last 15-20, it seemed to be about some guy who disappears never to be seen again, and the rest of the film has a bunch of people looking for him. The plot goes from unlikely event to unlikely event, and it's going to take all of your suspension of disbelief to swallow even half of this stuff. I'll give you two quick examples: At one point, a character has to hide for some hours... so he does what any of us would do... he climbs down a toilet. Now, after those hours have passed, he emerges, and takes a deep breath. So, we're basically supposed to believe he somehow could hold his breath for that long? Another point is when the villains throw not one, not two, but three grenades right after each other. And at no other point in the movie do we even get a hint that they might have anything other than guns. Seriously, those three grenades just rolling into frame... that was a moment of(what I suspect is unintentional) hilarity. I can't imagine someone seeing that scene and not laughing, at least a little. Then there's the repetitiveness, the lack of imagination displayed in the writing. Several points in action scenes have tension being broken by the main characters damn wristwatch beeping. Turn the bloody thing off; that's what any normal person would do. One guy seems to get shot over and over without ever dying or even coming to serious harm. The acting is pretty bad most of the time, and it's clear that most of the casting was done based on physical appearance rather than acting talent(made evident by how small a part Joe Pantoliano has, even though he's easily the most talented person involved in the project). The cinematography has its moments, but mostly it's just dreadful. Half of the action is nearly impossible to make out, as there are too few 'cover-shots'(meaning, we don't see the movement, we see the beginning and/or the end result, but not the action itself) and half of the stuff is done with hand-held camera and in long takes, clearly showing the pure laziness of Mr. Wiper. The action is nearly constant, but about as unrealistic as the plot. We don't really connect with any of the characters, and by the end of the film, we just don't care anymore. Too many lazy stereotypes in the place of actual characters and too many plot holes. The dialog varies, but the majority of it is poor. There's really nothing memorable or worthwhile in this film, and most people should just skip it. I recommend it only to die-hard fans of action flicks. 6/10
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7/10
A Better Way To Die is A Better Way To Enjoy
misterg-325 October 2004
This is not a great piece of cinema. This is no Seven Samurai or Shawshank Redemption. But this movie is very entertaining if you like a good "Shoot'em Up". The action is done well and I think the acting is fine. This movie is better than a lot of A List movies with 10 times the budget.

Andre Braugher does well in this movie but then any fan of his shouldn't really be surprised by that. Scott Wiper, whom ever he is, does well and makes a good movie. I'll look forward to seeing what else Scott Wiper can do. Don't be afraid of this one.
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9/10
Good Action Movie
lavarock123423 December 2003
A good action movie that will hook you on for the entire ride. The story may not be that groundbreaking or unique, but the action is well-done and the pace is very fast, a true thriller. I also like the way boomer is constantly dragged into scenario that he is totally not accountable. You can say that he is extremely unlucky, but ironically, he survived miraculously many time whereas he should be dead. I like this setting even though it has been used before.
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5/10
128 BANGS PER MINUTE
Didier-Becu6 August 2003
What a violent movie this is! I think that 70% of the movie consists of shooting and the guys don't just don't drop dead. But is it a good movie? Erm yes and no, this is such a typical movie that is mostly awarded with one star but this is just better than the rest. Not because of the scenario as that is as stupid as it can get. An ex-cop Boomer who saw his copmate being killed (already from the first minute they're shooting) decided that he gives it a farewell and wants to be a familyman. On his way to his wife who lives in another town he got carjacked and is being picked up by a lunatic called Flash, a cripple detective. It soons turns out he is saved by the wrong person as he is looking for a guy called Harry, a man who is both chased by the CIA (by Lou Diamond Phillips that is) and the mob simply as he is in the possession of a chip that contains internal secret information that seems to have the worth to kill 200 (or is it 400?) people for. Guess who's winning.... But what looks like an ordinary actionmovie got uplifted by the good performances from almost all actors and the violence à la Tarantino (superb scene is the one in a warehouse in where machineguys are destroying bottles of pizzasauce!). Mediocre film sure, but still nice enough to give it an average 5. If you like extremely violent stuff you'll say it's a highlight.
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9/10
Wow!
melpielips9 July 2003
Scott Wiper is one of the most talented film makers of my (30 something) generation! And Larry Sher is a cinematographic genius! (Way to go there Kyle and Ephram!)I know this to be true because I have had the great experience of working with both of them.

I loved the film guys! Let's hope you partner up for another one soon.

For all of you action/suspense film lovers - this film is for you! Move over Bruce, Arnie, and Sly - here comes Scotty Wiper!
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Movie for Guys that LOVE Movies!!!
Iron Mike23 January 2002
I came across A Better Way to Die when my roomate bought the movie and we checked it out on a "nothing going on" Friday. He told me the director/actor is a guy he knows from Granville, Ohio which is my roomates hometown. I watched it, no expecting much and was I wrong! Scott Wiper did a great job putting this film together. The action scenes were well done and the cast was fantastic. I was drawn into the movie because of the violent action scenes, but it was the dialogue that kept my interest. The opening scene had some of the most original dialogue I have heard in a long time. A Better Way to Die had a great plot and I liked the theme of "Boomer" trying to get out of the police life but constantly being drug back in. "Boomer" even had one of the hottest women alive to come home to once he was done with the force, Natasha Henstridge, so that was a bonus for any red-blooded, testosterone filled American male! She is en fuego!!! If and when Scott Wiper makes another film, I will most certainly purchase it. We need you to make another film Scott....One hundred percenT. "John Farris emphasis on the T"
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7/10
Wiper as a young Eastwood or Glenn.
paulcreeden19 January 2002
I guess I had to get past my snobbery to see that this film was OK,in the genre of the early "Dirty Harry" movies. The film is Greek tragedy, not Hollywood novel-turned-movie. I see Scott Wiper as a young Clint Eastwood or Scott Glenn. There was a certain dark humor at play in this movie, under the more obvious slapstick. With that all said, let's face the reality that Scott Wiper, like Eastwood and Glenn, is all sex all the time. The guy has that charisma and a body to back it up, even when the script gets a little bumpy. Lou Diamond Phillips, whose career also has its hormonal side, actually turns in a good performance as the complicated secret agent. Andre Braugher, while consistently earnest, seemed to be portraying the last six characters I've seen him play. I can understand why this film has gotten a fair amount of notice in the European market. It portrays a fantasy America, still routed in Wild West mores and justice.
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10/10
Not a bad late-night Showtime flick
petedoolittle19 September 2001
Great action, nice plot twist, and a little skin thrown in for good measure.

I was very entertained throughout, and was shocked with the amount of star power in the cast for this film...only wish that Joe P's character had not been killed off so quickly...

Looking forward to the next Scott Wiper project!!
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8/10
I think people may be missing something here...
peladophobe27 April 2006
I found this movie very entertaining. Although it was an action film I found the humor hilarious.

It's no Tarantino, but I loved the dark humor in the movie and the fact that nothing went right for our hero throughout.

I'd definitely recommend this movie for a rental. Just bare in mind that it's not a comedy, but it's also not a total shoot em up. Like I said, this is no Tarantino, but if you like Quentin's movies I think you'll like this one. This movie started strong for me, maybe compared to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (minus the drugs) meets the second half of True Romance (they even throw in a hot blonde to sauce up the mix). This movie has a good mix of characters. From the rugged hero, to the righteous hit-man, and a slew of other crazy individuals met by Boomer along the way.
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