Not perfect or even unpredictable, but entertaining
Marvin Powell | 04/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"*** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***
Love Lies Bleeding is an action thriller starring Brian Geraghty as Duke, Christian Slater as Pollen, and the talented Jenna Dewan as Amber.
Love Lies Bleeding is a straight-to-DVD movie that is actually, surprisingly, better than most straight-to-DVD movies I've ever seen. While far from original or unpredictable, it does with a movie is supposed to do, and that's entertain. Duke and Amber are a poor, New Mexico couple trying to make some decent cash. And when you have the white boy trying to get work amongst the illegal immigrant day laborers, you KNOW they're poor! Duke and Amber make a believable poor couple, and this is only added by the filthy no-good gangsters next door.
Sick of harassing him and pretty Amber, Duke buys a gun (which you'd think he would've already had in such a neighborhood) and goes to take care of business. However, Detective Pollen (Slater) beats him to it, as the gangsters have stolen some of his stolen evidence cash, roughly a quarter million dollars, from one of his cowardly street lackeys. And just to note, this is probably the FAKEST money I've ever seen. Even if you couldn't get one real $100 bill to put over top the fake money, then at least, as the director, don't zoom in on it, geez! After a shootout, Duke checks in on the situation to see everyone shot up and dead, except the injured Pollen. Duke sees the bag full of money and makes a run for it with the cash. Now, why he didn't just kill the half-dead Pollen, who just happens to be the only witness, right then and there, I have no idea, but then I guess we wouldn't have a movie.
Duke and Amber, with a quarter million dollars, head East out of New Mexico (yes, EAST, not West towards California) and buy a new car, on their way to a better life, a dream of theirs that is repeatedly hammered into the audience throughout the movie. Pollen goes on the run for them. Duke and Amber get married and spend their honeymoon at an off-road casino resort. While there on their honeymoon, they come across a thieving room service guy, and we're lead into a chase and fight-out in the casino hotel's kitchen. Eventually, Pollen and his goons catch up to Amber and she just manages to escape with her life. Amber runs into a guard in the stairwell and once he's not convinced Pollen is a legit cop, he gets shot and Amber runs off, again. Amber eventually reunites with Duke the reclaimed money. Duke and Amber devise a plan to outwit the clueless local police and escape, separately, and Duke decides to hide the cash in the bushes while they're on the run. Probably not the brightest idea when the casino is swarming with cops, everywhere. Did he really think they wouldn't at least, search the place?
While hiding out, Amber realizes that their dream of a happy family life won't be possible with dirty money, so convinces Duke to give the money back to Pollen in exchange of him letting them off the hook. Meanwhile, local detective Alice Sands questions Pollen, and not being an idiot like every other cop in this movie, comes to the conclusion that he isn't on the up and up. Pollen manages to convince everyone else though, that this poor New Mexico couple with no previous criminal record, are both drug peddlers. When Duke and Amber call Pollen about the deal (don't ask me how they got his number), Sands and her partner decide to follow them all to find . Duke heads back to the casino, only to find the money gone, and comes to the conclusion that the gardener who just quit has taken it. Duke heads to the guy's place and grabs the money back at gunpoint, warning him that dirty money never comes without a price.
Duke and Amber head to the rendezvous site, in order to give back the money and live their life in peace, but Pollen isn't having any of it. He has his henchman beat up and tie up Amber before Pollen starts to have his way with her. But a distraction from her allows for a final showdown with Duke and Pollen. In the aftermath of everything, Detective Sands comes in, and learns the truth behind everything, including the real story behind the corrupt cop, Pollen.
Now, this being a straight-to-DVD video, I was expecting this movie to be cheap and poorly made, however, it ended up being better than I thought. The filming and production quality is all top-notch. The movie itself, does what a movie is supposed to do and that's entertain you.
The acting isn't great, but everyone except for Geraghty as Duke, gives off a convincing, acceptable performance. In fact, Duke comes off as a one-dimension character and I was more than convinced that this was the actor's very first movie, however, it isn't. All we get from Duke is that he's a hot-headed, romantic dreamer, of sorts, who makes rash and often, stupid decisions. But I guess it's enough to work for this movie. Jenna Dewan as Amber and Christian Slater as Pollen are probably the best two in this, as they both bring a little bit of depth (not that much, but some) to their characters. Amber gets beat up A LOT in this movie. In fact, on four separate occasions. By Hispanic thugs, by Pollen's henchman, and by Pollen, twice. Despite her beatings though, Dewan as Amber is at least willing to fight back in her multiple, near-rape situations, which is more than most movie damsels-in-distress do. But seriously, Amber takes a real beating in this, and you have to give Jenna Dewan some credit for taking most of it herself, and not using a stunt double. Christian Slater's character may not have as much depth, but he is good in at least making you hate him. This guy is a real prick, that's for sure. I just wish we had a reason or inkling on just WHY he's so evil, rather than him just being a corrupt, bad cop just for the sake of it.
The characters aren't really that memorable, but the actors at least give their best efforts in making them likable. Duke may be the short-tempered devoted boyfriend, but I think someone other than Geraghty could've added a little more depth and believability to him, especially considering he's the lead. His character sort of reminds me of John Cena's character in "The Marine," as his only purpose is to play the "tough, but vulnerable" hero. The plot isn't all that original, but as is the case in Hollywood, it's not what story you're telling, but HOW you tell it, and this is told much better than I was anticipating. It could've easily come in 3rd place at the box office had the studio decided to release it in theaters.
The movie is overall entertaining and worth seeing, even if it's not perfect. I liked it and think others will find it enjoyable as well, despite its flaws. If you want a cheap thriller, with lots of good action and suspense, this satisfies, even if you probably could do better with Slater's earlier work with "True Romance.""
Great action picture
Albert Payne | Utah | 01/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Love Lies Bleeding takes off and never stops. Christian Slater is terrific as the crazed DEA agent. The movie stands above the usual action fare of this type because the young couple are everyday types, just a couple of kids looking for a break. The scene in the casino is a non-stop action classic that films with ten times the budget could use a look at."
B Movie at its Best! Don't miss it!!!
J. R Sategna | Martinez, California United States | 02/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This a great movie with lots of action and great acting. Chris Slater is always good and plays the bad cop in this one. The plot is good and keeps you guessing as it goes along. I do not know who the two lead actors are, but they did a great job in this road movie. I rented it and now I am going to buy it. Don't miss it!!!!"