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With Jim Sabatini

10 Cent Pistol

10 Cent Pistol
Thomas Ian Nicholas, Jena Malone, Damon Alexander and J.T. Alexander

Rated: R for violence, language throughout, some sexual references and drug use.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: August 21, 2015 Released by: eOne Entertainment

Fledgling director Michael C. Martin offers up quite a scenario that will have many heads scratched in this tangled non-linear crime melodrama co-produced by its lesser-known sibling thespians, Damon and J.T. Alexander. Something that may call to mind elements of Martin's scripting of Brooklyn's Finest with some visceral oomph, along with the seminal Pulp Fiction, but more frustrating than tautly exhilarating.

A smoothly mounted (nice widescreen lensing by the same talent in the more spellbinding Oculus) 10 Cent Pistol comes from a Black Keys song and it has the caustic twists and turns that hinge on betrayal and murder with both Alexanders providing narration that doesn't naturally coalesce with Martin's intriguing set-up. An entrance into a mansion posits a boyish, scruffy Harris (Thomas Ian Nicholas) as well as Jena Malone's Dannelle along with low-level hoodlums, Damon Alexander's Easton and J.T. Alexander's Jake.

The swank place is owned by a high-powered Punchy (Joe Mantegna reliable as the Mafioso getting a healthy cut of the illicit happenings in the environs) keeping them under his protection though the kingpin left one of the brothers out to dry. Where an underworld doctor (Adam Arkin, comfortable, too in his veteran status) had to do some painful emergency extractions. So, the tale has Jake reluctantly going along with Easton to procure bonds pilfered by Punchy and the connections of Dannelle with both of them, the latter being her current beau.

Overall, the curiosity and thrill seeking isn't really creatively cultivated in the intricacies as the filmmaking techniques just lead to more sheer prosaicness even with Malone rising above it all in the late going in the form of an alluring stratagem. 10 Cent Pistol has its splattered sanguine punch (no pun intended) and effusive backup from Brendan Sexton III and Justin Hines, but probably the underwhelming factor of this cinematic Mobius strip is the game but lack of drawing power from its two lesser known leads who are unable to retrieve and render a proficient pulpy pop.

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10 Cent Pistol        C                     C 

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