What’s the best way to make your C-movie instantly awful? Open it with this line in voice-over.
“The lengths we go to for family are infinitely immeasurable.”
Kids, “infinite” is by definition “immeasurable.”
“Emerald Run” is the oddest action picture of the winter, a smuggler-gets-double-crossed tale that tries to get by on a busload of faith.
Our hero (David Chokachi), a “family man” who isn’t “out of work. I’m between jobs,” takes on a “run” from his Italian mob boss father-in-law, played by veteran character heavy Chris Mulkey.
“Customs? They might think we’re smugglers!”
It’s all among good Catholics, here. We visit a church where the priest has a haircut and neck-tattoo that suggest he just got out of the joint. Crufixes abound.
And when the hand-off, cash-for-emeralds, goes wrong South of the Border, John (Chokachi) is given a test in the desert and a shot at redemption by a religious fanatic hermit (Vernon Wells).
Just like Jesus?
The boss? Hey, he was just trying to line up “pentance” for John, who is losing his faith — going through the motion, not paying attention in church, never shaving. John doesn’t even know to correct the father-in-law’s pronunciation of “pennace.”
John and his Mexican (Catholic, family man) guide (Sean Burgos) are wounded and stranded in the border country, hunted by thugs in a Baja buggy with John hallucinating a little bit of everything, including a preacher he once met (Steven Williams).
Wait, is John considering converting to Protestantism?
John “Dukes of Hazzard” Schneider plays a missing man seen only in flashbacks. There’s a teen girl drifting into drugs.
Whatever was going on on the set, incoherence duels incompetence in the finished product.
Technically, the editing plays up the sloppiness of the scriipt, and there’s a scene where there is “hair in the gate” flickering on the screen. I didn’t know that booboo was possible in the age of digital filmmaking.
Tense scenes are undercut by the clumsily telegraphed machinations that will get our heroes out of peril, much of the acting is blase, with one stand-out sing-songy “Never acted in a movie before” flash of utter incompetence.
Something tells me “Emerald Run” won’t be seeing much green.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence, bloody images and drug material
Cast: David Chokachi, Yancy Butler, Sean Burgos, Steven Williams, Michael Paré, John Schneider, Vernon Wells and Chris Mulkey
Credits: Directed by Eric Etebari, script by Anthony Caruso and Marialisa Caruso. A Magnifacat Media release.
Running time: 1:30