Truth Or Consequences, N.m.

on May 02, 1997 by Dale Winogura
   A passable pulp thriller, "Truth or Consequences, N.M." sustains a brisk story momentum for about an hour before collapsing into disheveled events and contrived coincidences. The workable xploitation premise of Brad Mirman's script devolves into theatrical dialogue setpieces and conventional genre situations. In his second feature as a director, Kiefer Sutherland overcomes some of the faults with a sleek stylistic sheen and rapid pacing in the early stages, but it's not quite enough. br>   A former convict (Vincent Gallo), his loving fiancee (Kim Dickens), an undercover cop (Mykelti Williamson) and a maniacal gun- toting criminal (Sutherland) are on the road running from the law after a drug robbery that they engineer becomes fouled up in the execution. After the foursome kidnap a married couple (Kevin Pollak and Grace Phillips), the convict is to connect with a drug-dealer pal in the small New Mexico town of Truth or Consequences to sell the goods and take off for Mexico. But their violent meeting with a Vegas gang boss (Rod Steiger) sets an even more ruthless gangster (Martin Sheen) on their trail. The thieves hole up at a desert shack, where both cops and crooks converge at the same time for a traditional gory windup.
   In perhaps his most fully realized and dimensional character to date, Gallo turns a typical loser part into a sympathetic antihero, and Dickens supports him with an equally strong and rounded portrayal. Gleefully playing another reprehensible lunatic, Sutherland conveys a bit more human edge to his villainy than usual. Capable work is turned in by the rest of the cast, who avoid stereotypes wherever possible. The hardboiled and tough-talking qualities in Mirman's writing are ome of the film's most credible assets, but he gets too wrapped up in formula plot hokum and not enough in developing characters and relationship conflicts. The truth is this is not bad, but the consequences are it's ultimately disappointing action fare.    Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Vincent Gallo, Martin Sheen and Rod Steiger. Directed by Kiefer Sutherland. Written by Brad Mirman. Produced by J. Paul Higgins, Kevin Messick and Hilary Wayne. A Triumph release. Thriller. Rated R for a substantial amount of strong violence, and for sex, language and drug use. Running time: 102 min
Tags: Kiefer Sutherland, Vincent Gallo, Martin Sheen, Rod Steiger, Directed by Kiefer Sutherland, Written by Brad Mirman, Produced by J. Paul Higgins, Kevin Messick, Hilary Wayne, A Triumph release, Thriller, desert, cops, crooks, gory, convict, drug-dealer

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