Main cast: Michael Biehn (Reynolds), Michael Madsen (Lou), Kenzie Dalton (Laurel), Ryan Carnes (Gus), Owen Burke (Pete), Christian Madsen (Duffy), Rick Salomon (Dale), Clement von Franckenstein (Tillman), Beth Miller (Nano), Thyme Lewis (Enos), Hunter Daily (Allegra), and Caroline Vreeland (Rachael)
Director: Frank Peluso
I know, I know. Once an actor hits a certain age, it’s hard to keep getting plum roles, and Michael Madsen and Michael Biehn had never exactly been leading man material in the past. Still, they have to make money somehow, hence the frequent “What are you thinking?” movies they kept popping up in over the last few years. Red Handed is actually one of the better “No, really, do you need money that bad?” movies of theirs, which is just a reflection of how sad things have been for these two.
Michael Madsen gets top billing but he only appears for a short while in the early parts of this movie, when his character Lou is charbroiled in a spa as part of a plot of what seems like everyone else in town. I don’t know why he’s in this movie, maybe he negotiated making a brief appearance so that his son Christian secured the role of his character’s son Duffy or something.
At any rate, Lou is dead, so his sons Pete, Gus, and Duffy come together for the first time in ages to tend to the funeral. They and their hangers-on (brats, girlfriend, etc) make a trip to a river to scatter Lou’s ashes, and that’s when the drama starts. The rustic locale hides deadly threats, and one of the brothers is like oh dear, he has been kidnapped here some 30 years ago, but he has repressed his memories of that incident. Of course, the kid goes missing because that’s what kids do in such movies. What is happening here?
Well, who cares. Because this movie clearly doesn’t have much of a budget, probably even less after deducting the salaries for the two Michaels, the folks behind it do the obvious obfuscation act by having the main characters argue and bicker for the bulk of the movie. The drama only comes to a head during the last 30 minutes or so. Up to that point, it’s hard to care about the characters because they are so one note—Pete is the sour-faced angst bucket, Gus is the one that shows off the body a lot because he’s an artist, and Duffy is the earnest one—and the plot has already been given away in the opening 15 minutes. When everything is revealed, well, I think I can act surprised far better than the bulk of the cast here.
To be fair, the three leading men are alright, although Christian Madsen is constantly overshadowed by the other two actors. It’s just that they don’t have much to work with here. The female cast members fare worse, as their roles are even more one dimensional. I can only hope they get paid enough to walk off the set with their heads held high.
On the bright side, the scenery is pretty, and the main cast put on a show as best as they can, despite the gunk they are stuck in. This is one of those movies that can be played in the background when one wants some background noise for making out, doing housework, or whatever; the kind that one will look up once in a while and go, “Oh look, nothing is happening!” before going back to doing whatever one was doing before.