Blood, Guts, Bullets & Octane

on April 09, 1999 by Simon O
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One has to admire this low-to-no budget eclectic action film if only for the brazen verve with which the filmmakers approached their labor of love. Shot for $7,300, "Blood, Guts, Bullets & Octane" boasts an opening half-hour that has an energy and style that's fresh and invigorating. But the film quickly loses steam despite some fun performances and strong writing. Nevertheless, this is a must-see for everyone out there who has ever said, "I've got a convertible; let's make a movie."
The self-described "improbable fable" concerns two fast-talkin', low-rent used car salesmen in dire financial straits who get offered a deal they can't refuse, despite its dubiousness: allow a 1963 Pontiac convertible to sit on their car lot for two days in exchange for way too much money. Of course they take the deal and of course trouble follows. Armed mercenaries have been doing some cross-country chasing and killing for the car, and now the FBI is also on the trail.
This is young buck filmmaking--high energy, some clever moments, but ultimately it doesn't make sense. Much of the dialogue, particularly between the two down-and-out protagonists, is fast, furious and fabulous. The rapid-fire repartee showcases the raw but intriguing talents of Joe Carnahan and Dan Leis. While the scenes between the two of them have a certain "Tin Men" flair, other scenes drag on interminably. The sequences quickly become repetitive and boring, making the film seem much longer than its 87 minutes. The action, what there is of it, suffers from a lack of clear choreography, although the occasional use of short-hand shots and video effects works to the filmmakers' advantage.
Big on ideas but short on execution, "Blood, Guts, Bullets & Octane" excites at first, but soon runs out of gas, coasting to the finale only on fumes. Starring Joe Carnahan, Dan Leis and Dan Harlan. Written and directed by Joe Carnahan. Produced by Joe Carnahan and Dan Leis. A Lions Gate release. Action. Not rated. Running time: 87 min.
Tags: independent, car salesman, crime, FBI, low-budget, Joe Carnahan, Dan Leis, Dan Harlan, car, money
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