[box cover]

Deuces Wild

From the director of Form... Focus... Fitness: The Marky Mark Workout comes this competent recycling of 1950s Brooklyn street gang B-movie clichés, from the wistful coming-of-age opening narration to the backdrop of doo-wop music. Stephen Dorff capably stars in Deuces Wild as Leon, the tough leader of The Deuces, an aging youth gang caught between rivals The Vipers and the emerging influence of senior organized crime elements in the neighborhood. As usual in this genre, Leon is outgrowing gang life but feels responsible for his protégés — including his brawny, bullheaded younger brother, Bobby (Brad Renfro), who, typically, falls for the sister (Fairuza Balk) of a rival gang member (Balthazar Getty). Leon also wants revenge for the drug overdose of another brother, and so there are fights and murders and double-crosses and all that. Director Scott Kalvert does nothing to distinguish this handsomely produced and well-acted, but overall lethargic, enterprise. The conspicuously familiar cast — also including Matt Dillon, Frankie Munoz, Debbie Harry, and several supporting actors from HBO's The Sopranos — adds some luster, but ultimately fails to lift the material above its fairly trite aspirations. Dorff, if only he could worm his way into some better projects, has real potential, but it goes unrealized here. Unfortunately for everybody involved, Deuces Wild was released theatrically on the same weekend as Spider-Man, after which it was summarily rushed to home video. MGM's DVD offers a fine anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) with crisp Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Kalvert provides a commentary track. Trailer, keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr



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