Rural Mayhem Made Men By Rich Osmond. Made Men (Louise Morneau, 1999) Heading west now to Harmony, OK (pop. 803), where Chicago mobster Bill “The Mouth” Manuchi (James Belushi) is hiding out through the auspices of the Witness Protection Program, spending his time ogling his sexpot wife (Vanessa Angel) and whacking bugs with his flyswatter...
Made Men (Louise Morneau, 1999)
Heading west now to Harmony, OK (pop. 803), where Chicago mobster Bill “The Mouth” Manuchi (James Belushi) is hiding out through the auspices of the Witness Protection Program, spending his time ogling his sexpot wife (Vanessa Angel) and whacking bugs with his flyswatter. But as all Cinemax movie watchers know, the Witness Protection Program never works. The Mouth is quickly besieged by a colorful band of big city hit men who have come to take him out for turning evidence against the mysterious crime boss known as “The Skipper” (and to find the $12 million The Mouth embezzled beforehand).
It doesn’t take much effort for The Mouth to confuse his captors and escape into the countryside. From there, it’s non-stop shootouts, car chases, and explosions, especially after the local sheriff (Timothy Dalton) and Sweetwater County’s own hick crime lord Kyle (Steve Railsback) join the chase down the deserted back roads.
Besides vicious beatings, bear traps, power drill and crowbar torture, and exploding meth labs, Made Men also has the requisite double-crosses and secret alliances mandatory for a modern crime movie. Co-producers Joel Silver and Richard Donner may have slicked things up in the productions value department, but otherwise they didn’t try to elevate Made Men above its pulpy, straight-to-video origins. The result: one of the better ass-kicking low budget action movies to show up on cable in a while; right up there with Albert Pyun’s Mean Guns.
The action never slows down, meaning that Belushi has to squeeze in all of The Mouth’s weak one-liners between the acts of violence, and they’re not too painful that way. And while there’s not nearly enough of Vanessa Angel, to make up for it you get Steve Railsback’s Kyle, bearing down on all the players with his inbred-looking, steroid-shocked sons and his pack of vicious hunting dogs. Nobody can play a scary redneck like Railsback, and he gets the best line when he calls The Mouth on his cellular in the middle of a shootout: “Why, I must have dialed wrong. I must have got the goddamn psychic hotline… ‘cause I’m talkin’ to a dead man.”
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