Michael C. Martin’s 10 Cent Pistol is the story of two lifelong criminals and best friends played by real life brothers JT & Damon Alexander. The two buddies in crime try to finesse their way towards a life of money and power in modern day Los Angeles. Their efforts are instantly complicated when criminal mastermind Joe Mantegna and femme fatale Jena Malone enter the picture. This is a movie that nods to everything from classic noir to the modern renaissance of post-Tarantino crime thrillers.
10 Cent Pistol tries very hard to be the next intense, hardcore flick on the block, and in some ways it succeeds. Our two leads try to come across as hard and weathered from dual lives of crime, but the problem is that at the end of the day, we’ve seen this kind of story told better many times over. Michael C. Martin makes his directorial debut here and it almost seems like he garnered success from his earlier work Brooklyn’s Finest through the help of a seasoned production team and a corral of top shelf actors.
JT & Damon Alexander play lifelong friends that want to make it big in the criminal underworld. They serve a boss played by Joe Mantegna, who absolutely owns every scene he’s in. After a time the two friends think they can call the shots, and surprise, one of them gets shot and winds up doing a year in prison. Jena Malone enters the picture as a love interest for both of our leads and she holds her own as the plot unravels to reveal a series of multiple double-crosses and betrayals.
I’ve gotta say that after multiple viewings, this movie could have been worse. The dialogue may seem trite and repetitive at times, but believe me, there are way worse films out there that try to tackle the same type of story (I’m looking at you .45). The film tends to drag in areas that try too hard to be edgy, some of the editing is rough and there is one scene where the ADR is just awful, but it’s not a complete loss. Check it out if not for anything other than the entertaining performances from Joe Mantegna, Adam Arkin, Emilio Rivera and Jena Malone.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars