Revenge is a dish best put in a blender before serving in 10 Cent Pistol, Michael C. Martin‘s chronologically scrambled tale of a crook trying to steal a fortune from the gangster who sent him up the river. Brothers JT Alexander and Damon Alexander produced the pic and are its stars; these two facts may be related, as Damon, the cast’s weak link, would otherwise be an unlikely choice for the central role. Martin’s script holds some hard-boiled appeal, but his direction (some nice technical flourishes aside) doesn’t back it up. Commercial prospects are slim despite the presence of familiar names (Jena Malone, Joe Mantegna) in the cast.
Damon plays Easton, who went to prison after a heist planned by Punchy (Mantegna, applying a generous coat of underworld slickness to the character) went sideways. The screw-up wasn’t Punchy’s fault, and in fact the kingpin kept him from a much longer term. Still, Easton stepped out of the big house intending to steal millions from him via a complicated home invasion.
Nice slice-and-dice storytelling; iffy execution.
Synopsizing further would be unfair to a film this intent on hopping back and forth in time to give you exactly the information it wants you to have, when it wants you to have it. Fair enough, but even with all this manipulation, the film can’t explain motives and methods without an excessive amount of voiceover, during much of which Damon Alexander sounds like a tough-guy parody on a comedy sketch show. Midway through, we get Easton’s partner Jake (JT) as an additional narrator; in this case, voiceover is probably the only way of knowing what’s in the head of a character played with such opaque, angsty furtiveness.
Production company: Route 17 Entertainment
Cast: Damon Alexander, JT Alexander, Jena Malone, Joe Mantegna, Thomas Ian Nicholas
Director-Screenwriter: Michael C. Martin
Producers: Damon Alexander, JT Alexander
Executive producers: Boone Hyde
Director of photography: Michael Fimognari
Production designer: Adrina Garibian
Costume designer: Mynka Draper
Editor: Aram Nigoghossian
Music: Jim Dooley
Casting director: Emily Schweber
No rating, 90 minutes