Cuba Gooding, Jr. stars in this suspenseful crime thriller as a small town trash collector who stages a robbery so that he can impress a girl by being the hero, until the perfect plan takes an awful turn. After he awakens in a hospital, a man tracks down and murders the criminal that left him and a bank teller for dead during a robbery, only to end up having the slain thief's associates come after him in retaliation. Also starring Ray Liotta (Smokin' Aces, Revolver) and Tommy Flanagan (Smokin' Aces, Gladiator)
There are hidden agendas and devastating twists in this gritty thriller from the "simple plan gone awry" school. Liam (Cuba Gooding Jr.), who was left a broken man after his pregnant wife drowned, gets a new lease on life after he saves a child from a burning car. When he later intervenes in a botched bank heist, resulting in the shooting of a female teller and himself, his hero wish becomes a death wish as he tracks down the gang members. But Liam is no Charles Bronson.
Gooding indelibly captures Liams bald desperation (his characters short-lived glory and downward spiral echoes his own misguided film career). First-time director Brian Smrz is a former stunt coordinator, and the films punishing fight scenes deliver the down and dirty goods. Jean Smart is excellent as the comatose tellers mother, while Tommy Flannigan, as a wildly Scottish thug, entertainingly feasts on the scenery. Ray Liotta, as a veteran cop investigating the escalating carnage, does his best with such B-movie groaners as, "One minute hes a hero in the news, the next hes inside a bottle with no exit." "Redemption," Liam states at one point, "Sometimes you have to go through hell to get it." It doesnt get any more hellish than Boat Trip, Daddy Day Camp or those Hanes underwear commercials, but Gooding finally gets some with his best starring performance since Radio. --Donald Liebenson