Middlemen (2000)

Rating: C

Dir: Kevin Speckmaier
Star: James Hutson, Kirsten Robek, Byron Lucas, Phillip Maurice Hayes

There’s not a great deal here which you won’t have seen before, especially if you’re at all familiar with the works of Quentin Tarantino. Small-time crook Farley (Hutson) stumbles across the chance for the sting of a lifetime, only for things to fall apart when his partner opts to snort his share of the proceeds, and the previous owners get to hear about it as a result. Farley goes on the run with girlfriend – and source of the information – Alison (Robek), only to realise that his friend is more important. This transformation from self-proclaimed “weasel” to brave and loyal pal seemed far too abrupt; there’s neither enough background given to prove the closeness of their relationship, nor any epiphany to merit the change.

However, it’s a tough, noirish effort, with Robek a fine femme fatale, and Hayes particularly creepy as a drug- and steroid-crazed cop; one scene involving body piercing will certainly have you clutching various extremities. That kind of gruesome inventiveness is the sort of thing that helps distinguish the various entries in the genre from each other, and the film could probably have done with a little more effort on this front. But it’s still up there with the rest of the pack – an impressive feat given it was shot in just twelve days.