Length: 96 minutes
Director: Scott Kalvert (The Basketball Diaries)
Writer: Paul Kimatian and Christopher Gambale
Starring: Matt Dillon, James Franco, Johnny Knoxville, Drea de Matteo, Brad Renfro, Stephen Dorff, Frankie Muniz, Deborah Harry, Fairuza Balk, Vincent Pastore, Max Perlich, Balthazar Getty, Norman Reedus.
Poor “Deuces Wild”- it was destined to be forgotten right from the get go. It was the only other studio movie to open in the theaters the same week the original “Spider-man” was released. It didn’t stand a chance. Despite being the type of movie that welcomes a cult audience (street gangs always do), it didn’t fare any better when it came out on video/DVD. The less than positive reviews didn’t help any (It has a remarkably low 3% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and it vanished. Now thanks to IFC, its getting some play and hopefully picking up some fans. Yes, I know I only rated it two and a half stars. That’s because it’s not a particularly award worthy movie or anything. It may appeal to the “Goodfellas” audience, but that doesn’t mean it’s up to par with “Goodfellas`” quality. It is, however, an entertaining movie. It’s filled with cheesy dialogue and some hammy performances, but I think that was kind of the point. Think of “Deuces Wild” as a more profane and violent mix up of “The Outsiders” and “West Side Story”. Stephen Dorff and the late Brad Renfro star as Leon and Bobby- two brothers in 1950s era Brooklyn who start a gang called the Deuces. The Deuces are formed after another local gang, the Vipers, introduce drugs to the neighborhood- indirectly killing Leon and Bobby’s younger brother by an overdose. The Deuces want to keep the streets clean and the tension starts to rise between the gangs when Bobby falls for Annie (Fairuza Balk) - the sister of one of the main Vipers, Jimmy Pockets (Balthazar Getty). It’s not too difficult to figure out where the movie is going to go from there, but it’s not boring either. Director Scott Kalvert’s prior feature film was the “Basketball Diaries” and the movie has the same style and feeling. I’m not sure where Kalvert was born and raised (his IMDB profile is pretty vague), but he seems to have a lot of affection for this time period and setting. He’s no Scorsese, that’s for sure, but I think it’s a positive attribute for a director when you can stamp your movies with your own touch. The commercial and overall critical failure of this movie apparently led to the collapse of Kalvert’s career (he’s produced a couple of direct-to-video features and a Bad Religion concert DVD since). Hopefully somewhere down the line he gets another chance.
Buy the DVD here