Main cast: Stephen Dorff (Leon), Brad Renfro (Bobby), Fairuza Balk (Annie), Norman Reedus (Marco), Max Perlich (Freddie), Drea de Matteo (Betsy), Vincent Pastore (Father Aldo), Frankie Muniz (Scooch), Balthazar Getty (Jimmy Pockets), Nancy Cassaro (Esther), Matt Dillon (Fritzy), and Debbie Harry (Wendy)
Director: Scott Kalvert
They probably thought they had a good idea when they thought up the movie Deuces Wild.
“See, Scotty, chicks and dudes dig revivals, and it’s time we do a West Side Story revival, see? Only we don’t have all that ugly old guys, so if Lou Diamond Phillips call, don’t answer him, ‘kay? We get all these guys looking like streetwise thugs from a gay porno fantasy, put in some chicks so that the tough guys in the audience don’t get insecure about the ‘homo feelings’, and a-ha! We got a winner, Scotty!”
Pffft! Bug off and die.
Okay, okay, this movie is actually not bad. It is bad, technically, because it shamelessly lifts all the predictable clichés from street gang movies, slaps them all on with the delicacy of a French chef murdering bread dough, and serve stale. That’s a certain charm about such unabashedly honest violence softporn in that it doesn’t pretend to be anything but bad.
We have Leon, the noble gangster who leads the Deuces in the wild, bad Brooklyn streets of the late 1950s. His brother Bobby is the wild and rebellious one, naturally, and Bobby has fallen for Annie, the sad caregiver heroine who is taking care of her sick elderly mother. Annie’s brother is the second-in-command of a rival gang, the Vipers, who is led by Marco, the quintessential evil, drug pusher. Marco wants Leon dead. Alright, guys? Time to rumble!
Along the way, we also have the young kid who idolizes our noble gangster, the good priest who sees the good in everyone, the badass gangsta boss of all bosses, the usual revenge thing, the Juliet/Romeo thing, the near-death thing, the final rumble thing, and of course, lots of preachy messages about peace and love, but after we splatter the brains of our enemies all over the pavement, that is.
Guys pose about in tight tops and tighter jeans, looking tough and slick like ten dollar rentboys looking for tricks. It’s like a movie starring post-NAMBLA idols, and the amount of violence is like a calculated expression of all the suppressed guy/guy tension that cannot be expressed. But seriously, what happened to Stephen Dorff? He looks ancient in this movie, and it’s a pity, because he does look quite yummy still in Blade.
The best thing about this movie is Fairuza Balk, who gives the most convincing performance as a young girl trapped by circumstances in a horrible life. Maybe we can all draw a parallel to the actress herself, actually a pretty good actress, who is somehow typecast as either freaky black-kohled bitches or gangster molls or monster girls.
Still, in the end, something’s missing. Ah yes, the music. Where’s my Tonight, Tonight? Deuces Wild wants to be slick, luscious, and hip, but it only succeeds in being a silly piece of ham.