Deuces Wild: Snake Eyes
- Holly McClure Movie Reviewer
- 2002 16 Mar
Deuces Wild - R
Best for: Those who haven't seen this sort of story before.
The plot: In 1958 Brooklyn, N.Y., a truce between rival gangs the Deuces and the Vipers is jeopardized after Leon (Stephen Dorff) and Bobby (Brad Renfro) discover that their brother died from drugs supplied by enemies Marco (Norman Reedus) and Jimmy Pockets (Balthazar Getty). The two gangs keep a truce because of Father Aldo (Vincent Pastore) and Fritzy (Matt Dillon), a mob guy who runs the neighborhood. But when Bobby becomes involved with Jimmy's sister, Annie (Fairuza Balk), who lives with their mentally unstable mother (Deborah Harry), and Marco is released from prison after serving three years for involvement in the brother's death, things begin to heat up between the gangs. Frankie Muniz plays a neighborhood kid who worships Leon and wants to be a gang member of the Deuces.
The good: The best part of this movie is the nostalgic look at life in the '50s (the fashions, cars, hairstyles, etc.) as well as shining performances by Dorff and Muniz.
The bad: This is a clichéd tale of rival gangs fighting over territory, drugs and women. The characters and dialogue are over done; Deuces Wild feels like West Side Story without the music.
The violence includes people being shot, stabbed and brutally hit, kicked and pummeled. A point that's almost painfully clear is how different the gangs of today are versus the 1950s. Back then, guys used their fists, bats, knives, etc., to duke it out. Rarely was a gun involved in the mayhem. These days the weapon of choice for a gang member is an automatic or Uzi, but the reasons to fight are basically still the same: drugs, women and territory.
Perhaps the weirdest performance in this mess is former pop queen Deborah Harry playing a mentally unbalanced mother who believes it's always Christmas and walks around looking for Santa Claus. Yeah, right! But she looks good anyway.
Dillon is usually a strong presence and could have had a powerful role, but he barely gets enough screen time to be considered a menace. What was he thinking playing this role?
Several flashback scenes try to tell the story in a creative way, but in the end, it feels more like a violent made-for-TV movie rather than a compelling character-driven story. The plot is weak, the characters are two-dimensional, the dialogue is almost laughable in some scenes ("I gotta get out of Brooklyn, I can't stand this place no more! It's driving me crazy!" and "Don't go. I got a real bad feeling about this, Leon!") and it's all been done before -- only better.
Offensive language and behavior: This is one of those scripts that uses the "F"-word like it's regular vocabulary, along with a variety of slang terms and mild cursing. One scene shows a guy flashing a middle finger to another. A half dozen religious profanities or exclamations are used, along with lots of degrading expressions about women and abusive behavior toward them. Several drinking scenes, as well as scenes involving drug use. Jimmy pushes his mother around because he's frustrated with her.
Sexual situations: Lots and lots of sexual dialogue. A couple of scenes show Leon and his girlfriend kissing while she's in her underwear. Annie playfully stands in front of her window and lowers her robe to expose her bare back for Bobby, who's watching from across the street. Annie and Bobby passionately kiss while standing in a swimming pool (in their underwear).
Violence: Several fight situations, with lots of bloody violence and deaths. A brother carries his dead brother home. A father repeatedly slaps his son for no good reason, and the other brother stops him by punching the dad in the face. Vipers jump a lone Deuce and beat him up. Annie steals some of the Vipers' money. Cinderblocks are pushed from a roof down onto a car below, injuring and killing the people inside.
Parental advisory: This is not a movie for kids, and I don't think the star appeal of the actors in this movie is enough to make teens want to see it -- not when Spiderman is on a competing screen.
It's a wrap: I had a hard time getting into this movie because it just wasn't believable or interesting. Aside from the fact that we've seen this story done a million times before, none of the characters are compelling, and the dialogue in some scenes is so overdone and silly it's almost humorous. Rent West Side Story or The Outsiders for a more interesting take on life in the hood.