Jake Bridges: [narrating] I always wanted to be close to dangerous guys. Even wanted to be a dangerous guy. Truth is, didn’t know what I wanted.
After losing his job at a NYC magazine and finding his gf in bed w/ a younger man, a depressed writer named Jake Bridges (William Petersen) goes on a drinking spree in Atlantic City, NJ. At a seedy-looking bar, Jake gets argumentative w/ a tough/beefy patron (played by singer Meat Loaf). The fight turns violent fast and continues out on the street. Suddenly, a stranger comes to Jake’s rescue! This man is an enforcer named Frankie (Michael Wincott); he takes Jake to his house. Luckily for Jake, Frankie’s gf Melissa (Diane Lane) is a nurse. Frankie wants to become book-smart; in return, he’ll teach Jake how to be street-smart. Jake even gets a bit of a makeover (w/ a tailored suit). Soon, Jake feels himself drawn into Frankie’s (criminal) world and falls in love w/ Melissa. Jake also gets inspo to write- again!
Frankie: A man once told me that the only thing you really own is a piece of ground the size of your shoes.
Perhaps you are fans of the 3 leads, who were NOT then big stars at that time. Petersen (best known as the lead on the CBS drama CSI) had appeared in 2 big films- To Live and Die in L.A. (1985) and Manhunter (1986). Those of you (near my age) may know him from Young Guns II or as Reese Witherspoon’s dad in the teen drama/thriller Fear (1996). Lane was having a lull in her career (which I don’t understand); I think she does a good job w/ what she is given here. She’d soon receive critical acclaim for roles in A Walk on the Moon (1999) and Unfaithful (2002). A character actor (playing tough guys/villains), Wincott had a key supporting role in Jordan Peele’s latest movie- Nope (2022). Wincott plays a cinematographer obsessed w/ getting the perfect shot.
Melissa: What can I tell you about men? They want you to be their daughter, their mother, their addiction. They want you to want them, and then they don’t want you anymore.
This is for those of y’all who want to dive deep into the film noir genre. You can see this low-budget indie for free (Crackle or Plex). The video was pausing for me on those apps, so I rented it (Amazon). There are tropes found in noirs of the ’40s and ’50s, BUT w/ ’90s attitudes and modern language. The locations/sets are (usually) bleak and darkly lit. Some of the dialogue is predictable, BUT some of it still comes off as fresh. From what I read/heard, viewers esp. liked the scenes btwn. Petersen and Wincott (where they read/discuss the classic book- Moby Dick). We see that Frankie possesses some good qualities that Jake lacks. The movie blurs the distinction btwn hero and villain. There is also a plot twist after the hour mark.
 Well acted and with solid dialogue, the film has a few cliched moments, but they are ultimately forgivable in the end.
 The plot, too seems somewhat contrived in bringing together Petersen and Wincott as friends, but somehow the whole is better than the sum of it’s parts. Once Wincott enters, it is an engaging though flawed piece with good action sequences. With more care in the scripting, this could have been a really good film but as it is, well worth a watch.
 The film may seem dated at the beginning, but follow the story and you’ll be surprised, and pleased. The editing is clearly 1998; if it were shot and edited today, it would probably be smoother, and a bit more coherent. There are pieces of the soundtrack that are very pleasing, but mostly too 90’s in style. The movie probably would be a terrific re-make…
-Excerpts from IMDb reviews