Beware Harvey Keitel in this hardcore caper — he barely says a word (which is probably for the better, otherwise he’d risk losing the cigarette that’s constantly in his mouth) as he scowls and stomps his way from Palm Springs to Los Angeles looking for the live-wire wheel man (Stephen Dorff) who botched a diamond robbery and killed his brother (Timothy Hutton). This isn’t one of those ’90s crime flicks that wants to be “cool” in the wake of the Tarantino craze — this is a tough, nasty, dangerous post-noir in which it seems like everyone has either been to prison or is headed there and men get pummeled to death by Keitel’s mighty fists of fury. Director John Irvin (who gave us the ultra-bloody Hamburger Hill and another pretty good revenge flick, Next of Kin) makes everything and everyone look completely ugly in this film, creating a sense of true grit as Keitel wanders an industrial wasteland/moral apocalypse in search of vengeful satisfaction; “I am my own police,” he growls at one point (and doesn’t lose his cigarette when he says it, either). Good stuff for those who like it down, dirty and brutal.
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