STUDIO: MTI Home Video
MSRP: $24.95 (Better act now, kiddos! There’s only four more currently in stock!)
RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes
El Mariachi and Crank had a baby, and that baby was really really
stupid, and then that baby crawled around shooting people without
foley-mixing making big “boom” sounds, then that baby would be this
Jerry Lloyd, Thom Doty and Roy Stanton. “Written” and “directed” by Sam Akina.
Doty plays ex-convict Cash, straight out of prison and a-looking for
vengeance. He went on what the movie advertisements refer to as a “roaring rampage of revenge.” He roared. And he rampaged. And he got
bloody satisfaction. He’s killed a hell . . . Uh . . . Wait . . . He’s
looking for vengeance against the man who killed his wife before he
went to prison. And when he finds him, he’s going to kill Bill. Oh crap. Kill
Marcus just wasn’t ready for the next level in Gary Busey’s self-help program “Snorting Your Way to Success.”
Most movies seem to have a
moment that summarizes the film itself. (ooh! So meta!) In my recent
review of Fame
I noted how it was a moment regarding people never reaching their full
potential. For you out there watching The Lord of the Rings, perhaps it
is when Sam puts Frodo on his back to carry him up Mt. Doom. Whatever
it may be most movies have these moments of meta-symbolism.
(Alliteration!) For Sam Akina’s Ca$h, this moment occurs at a point
where no less then 20 characters all have their guns drawn on one
another and one yells, “What the hell is going on?” What the hell is
going on? Indeed, sir, indeed.
Ca$h is not a good movie. That is
for sure. It’s a bad movie: confusing, muddled and poor in every aspect
you could anticipate. What I will do, however, is evaluate it on a
scale of understanding bad movies. “Is it a good bad movie?” one must
ask one’s self. For Ca$h is out-and-out a B movie to its core.
opens with its titular character narrating a montage of bloody shots
saying, “I’ve only ever been good at two things: killing people, and I
forgot the other one. And I’m the toughest, meanest, dirtiest, most
rottenest son-of-a-bitch you’ve ever met.” It then proves it by showing
us a flashback of Cash shooting his way down a street after a
(botched?) bank robbery. He cuts through civilians like Rambo through
Thai pedophiles. It then cuts to 10 years in the future when Cash is
released from prison, ready for revenge. That begs the question: Who
gets only 10 years in prison for slaughtering several civilians and
cops in a bank robbery? In any case, immediately after leaving prison
Cash begins killing his way towards drug dealer Hector Gonzales (Jerry
Lloyd) leaving a trail of bodies like breadcrumbs leading him back
Cash’s unrelenting pursuit of Gonzales sets into motion a
series of events that involve a drug turf war, attempted hits, botched
body deliveries and a mentally handicapped hit man resembling Marty
Feldman on steroids. It also reveals Gonzales to be the most inept
leader of a cartel in the existence of drug running, a drug lord who
has no clue where his bodyguards are at any time and gives the most
important business to the handicapped hitman. It’s only a matter of
time until his grey matter plays catch with a bullet. The movie plods
along determinedly with stops every so often for action sequences that
excel only in their mediocre cheesiness. A few scenes allow themselves
to go sufficiently over-the-top in their gore for some good
entertainment, but most just kind of toddle along like the protagonist:
stupidly and unrelenting.
Fun drinking game: Drink every time Cash makes this face /\ or this face. \/ You’ll be smashed.
The film hits every point it needs to.
There’s violence, there’s some semblance of a plot, there’s a
redemptive monologue for Cash to deliver to a hooker, and the two
obligatory scenes: a montage of every gang prepping for the big
shootout and repeatedly cocking their guns, and a gangster throwing his
coat off and brandishing a revolver in each hand, blasting left and
right as he walks toward (and-slash-or away from!) the camera. The film
also attempts to class itself up a bit by exercising stylistic
flourishes. There are almost more shots from below looking up (usually
into the barrel of a gun) in Ca$h as there are dutch angles in Doubt.
The aforementioned double-handgun scene gives us a brief split-screen
of the POV of each gun. But none of these flourishes carry any energy
or add anything interesting to the film, so they lay moot.
film, while entertaining at times, has no sense of cohesive narrative
structure. It’s told largely out of sequence, and not on purpose.
(Except for the flashbacks) There are whole sequences out of order, and
not in some fun Memento sort of way, you know, with purpose. The
writing and acting is of the level usually reserved for late night
Cinemax porn. Jerry Lloyd as Gonzales is the most unconvincing villain
you could imagine. Try to picture John Glover, but emaciated and
without any of the cunning and menace that Glover can occasionally
muster. Thom Doty as Cash simply seems to be auditioning for the role
of Mickey Rourke as Marv. He walks through the film growling his lines
and constantly looking for a fight by flashing people the Forest
The film stretches on between action beats with a
jumbled narrative involving the different cartels in the local drug
syndicate and the escalation to some kind of rivalry and turf war. It
honestly makes little sense. Within this narrative none of the
characters really act with any logic or sense. (And I know it’s futile
to ask for logic and sense for a B movie of this caliber) When Cash
breaks up the giant Mexican standoff of cartels and announces he is
here to kill Gonzales, everyone just turns and decides to shoot at Cash
himself. Forget the fact that most of those people were there to kill
Gonzales, as well.
“I want my buddy bear! I want my buddy bear! WHEN DOES IT EVER END??? I swear to God I’d rather blow my own nuts off then have to deal with another child. LET IT GO LAURA!”
Moving forward without logic is descriptive
of the film Ca$h as well as the character. He continues forward no
matter what gets thrown at him. A perfect double feature could be made
by watching Ca$h and Meet the Parents. Both films operate on the same
principle: see how much can happen to the protagonist and still leave
them standing. Ca$h does reach farcical proportions by the end. Cash
has been shot numerous times, fought an entire fight with a butcher’s
knife in his back and has even been side-swiped by a car. Yet he still keeps
plodding forward. Perhaps it’s the nature of farce evident by the end,
but I actually enjoyed the film’s final moments, which act as a perfect
culmination of all of the absurd events beforehand. But it still
doesn’t save that most of what comes beforehand is crap.
as bad films go, Ca$h isn’t even that good, but it’s hard to completely
dislike. Even though most of the film is a ridiculous confuddled mess,
it offers a few entertaining moments that redeem it from utter
pointlessness. It’s hard to hate a film where a man stabs another man
through the chest with the barrel of a shotgun, or where one man lifts
another man from the balls until he vomits blood. But these moments are
few and far between. That said, with the right group of friends and a
few drinks Ca$h could possibly offer a good night of entertainment.
It’s good for a few laughs, and could be a buddy-bonding movie. B movie
action fans could perhaps appreciate it better than I. But it’s still
pretty bad for a bad movie. And if you’re looking for a good drunken
buddy B movie, there are far better ones you could pick.
This is an actual shot from the movie. That is all you need to know.
DVD is barer-bones than Lara Flynn-Boyle. Technically, it looks like a
movie shot for $50,000 and bad lighting, which it was, so the transfer
isn’t that great. But it does offer a picture of Thom Doty giving his
signature “angry face” (copyright Forest Whitaker) that is featured so
heavily throughout the movie.