Joe Mantegna, Jena Malone, Adam Arkin and Thomas Ian Nicholas are in the cast of the heist-gone-wrong thriller “10 Cent Pistol.”
But it stars two unknowns — JT Alexander and Damon Alexander.
Nothing wrong with that. Everybody deserves their shot at a big break. Nice of these “name” actors to pitch in on writer-director Michael C. Martin’s movie to make that happen.
But playing two mugs, thieves and gunslingers, the Alexanders do little more than look tough and take up space. They’re the least interesting characters in this convuluted attempt at a tricky tale of betrayal and mass murder.
Easton (Damon Alexander) is fresh out of the joint, after doing time thanks to Punchy (Mantegna) who wanted him to just “pull this job for him.” The end result was “a crime scene with five dead bodies (Russians).” But Punchy, at least, got Easton busted for something less. The payoff? Bearer bonds. But Punchy never paid up.
Jake (JT Alexander) has been living in a nice loft, making time with E’s girl (Malone). But when E wants to hit Punchy’s place and collect what’s owed, Jake is all in.
That crime is the framing device in Martin’s movie, though he jumps back to the original heist as well. We keep coming back to Easton having bullets gruesomely fished out of his back (by Arkin), and “How We Met” moments with Malone.
But that opening heist — with a rich son (Nicholas) trying to tip the cops who come to investigate the burglar alarm at Punchy’s place that he’s being held hostage while Jake and Easton ransack the joint — is supposed to hold the film together. And for all its twists and turns, it doesn’t.
The dialogue has its snappy, hardboiled moments.
“They’ve got cameras watching the cameras,” and “You’re not going to get the opportunity to get the opportunity to say something stupid.”
But Jake’s narration, about how you can either “finesse” your way out of a jam, or “Bogart your way through it,” is drab. As are the performances. Especially the leads.
And the shoot-outs are spaced so far apart as to make this 90 minute picture feel much longer.
That makes “10 Cent Pistol” (as in “hotter than a 10 cent pistol”) too tepid to bother with.
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language throughout, some sexual references and drug use
Cast: JT Alexander, Damon Alexander, Joe Mantegna, Jena Malone, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Adam Arkin
Credits: Written and directed by Michael C. Martin. An eOne release.
Running time: 1:31