A Good Night to Die

Despite its apparent adherence to the buddy-movie genre as reinvented with existential assassins in "Pulp Fiction," Craig Singer's sophomore outing only makes sense as a noir love story, with Michael Rapaport in the unlikely role of femme fatale.

With:
With: Michael Rapaport, Gary Stretch, Robin Givens, Ally Sheedy, Ralph Macchio, Deborah Harry, Seymour Cassel, Lainie Kazan, Frank Whaley.

Despite its apparent adherence to the buddy-movie genre as reinvented withexistential assassins in “Pulp Fiction,” Craig Singer’s sophomore outing only makes sense as a noir love story, with Michael Rapaport in the unlikely role of femme fatale. The relationship between elegant English hit man Ronnie (Gary Stretch) and his dese-dem-dose protege August (Rapaport), though surrounded by all the quasi-absurdist affects of grand passion, never convinces. Overwrought styling can’t substitute for chemistry, and prospects for this souped-up “Butch Cassidy”-wannabe don’t look bright beyond homevid and cable.

A seminal first meeting takes place in a darkened movie theater when August tries to rob Ronnie at knifepoint only to be stopped by a gun to his jugular and some friendly professional advice. After August whacks the wrong man, Ronnie tries to get him off the hook, against the advice of everyone (including wife Robin Givens).

On top of this, Ronnie takes on some politically hairy hits for a crime boss (Deborah Harry, whose voice we hear long before she makes a surprising final appearance) that land him smack dab in the middle of a war between her and a rival boss (Seymour Cassel). Soon assassins are crossing paths all over Manhattan, particularly a hopped-up brother-and-sister act billed as Donnie and Marie (Ally Sheedy and Ralph Macchio).

Script is peppered with snappy one-liners but they never achieve natural flow, while a voice-over’40s-style interior monologue belabors the irony. Pic’s stellar stable of character actors seldom cohabit the same frame: During a taxi hit, Lainie Kazan plays her nasty motor-mouth yenta for all its worth in the back seat while Ally Sheedy snaps gum and looks vapidly bloodthirsty in the front.

However, lead Stretch fails to exude as much menace and sexual obsession as the kitten he pets after blowing away a senator.

Pic is continually goosed up with drop-frame, stop-and-start or blur-motion trickery that strain to enhance every moment. Pic’s action set pieces, though well-staged, also try too hard (e.g. the drug deal in the warehouse full of live-chickens).

Tech credits are accomplished, John Sosenko’s lensing achieving a measure of high-tech flash without losing the physical textures of New York locales.

A Good Night to Die

Production: A Regent Entertainment production in association with My2Centences. Produced by Paul Colichman, Stephen P. Jarchow, Chris Williams. Executive producers, Jeffrey Schenck, Mark Harris, Gary Stretch, Andreas Hess. Directed by Craig Singer. Screenplay, Robert Dean Klein.

Crew: Camera (color), John Sosenko; editor, Cass Vanini; music, Bee and Flower; production designer, Justin Scoppa; costume designer, Kristen Couchot. Reviewed at Tribeca Film Festival, April 16, 2003. Running time: 98 MIN.

With: With: Michael Rapaport, Gary Stretch, Robin Givens, Ally Sheedy, Ralph Macchio, Deborah Harry, Seymour Cassel, Lainie Kazan, Frank Whaley.

More Film

  • Matthew Rhys

    Matthew Rhys to Co-Star With Tom Hanks in Mr. Rogers Film 'You Are My Friend' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Despite its apparent adherence to the buddy-movie genre as reinvented withexistential assassins in “Pulp Fiction,” Craig Singer’s sophomore outing only makes sense as a noir love story, with Michael Rapaport in the unlikely role of femme fatale. The relationship between elegant English hit man Ronnie (Gary Stretch) and his dese-dem-dose protege August (Rapaport), though surrounded […]

  • San Diego Comic Con Preview 2017

    Variety Announces Comic-Con Studio and Kick-Off Party With YouTube

    Despite its apparent adherence to the buddy-movie genre as reinvented withexistential assassins in “Pulp Fiction,” Craig Singer’s sophomore outing only makes sense as a noir love story, with Michael Rapaport in the unlikely role of femme fatale. The relationship between elegant English hit man Ronnie (Gary Stretch) and his dese-dem-dose protege August (Rapaport), though surrounded […]

  • Israeli Film Industry Furious Over Proposed

    Israeli Film Industry Furious Over Proposed Funding Changes

    Despite its apparent adherence to the buddy-movie genre as reinvented withexistential assassins in “Pulp Fiction,” Craig Singer’s sophomore outing only makes sense as a noir love story, with Michael Rapaport in the unlikely role of femme fatale. The relationship between elegant English hit man Ronnie (Gary Stretch) and his dese-dem-dose protege August (Rapaport), though surrounded […]

  • Yellow Veil Pictures Launches, Buys German

    Yellow Veil Pictures Launches, Buys German Horror Movie 'Luz' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Despite its apparent adherence to the buddy-movie genre as reinvented withexistential assassins in “Pulp Fiction,” Craig Singer’s sophomore outing only makes sense as a noir love story, with Michael Rapaport in the unlikely role of femme fatale. The relationship between elegant English hit man Ronnie (Gary Stretch) and his dese-dem-dose protege August (Rapaport), though surrounded […]

  • ‘On the Basis of Sex’ Trailer:

    Felicity Jones Channels Young Ruth Bader Ginsburg in First 'On the Basis of Sex' Trailer

    Despite its apparent adherence to the buddy-movie genre as reinvented withexistential assassins in “Pulp Fiction,” Craig Singer’s sophomore outing only makes sense as a noir love story, with Michael Rapaport in the unlikely role of femme fatale. The relationship between elegant English hit man Ronnie (Gary Stretch) and his dese-dem-dose protege August (Rapaport), though surrounded […]

  • Nathan Fillion Made His Own 'Uncharted'

    Nathan Fillion Made His Own 'Uncharted' Fan Film

    Despite its apparent adherence to the buddy-movie genre as reinvented withexistential assassins in “Pulp Fiction,” Craig Singer’s sophomore outing only makes sense as a noir love story, with Michael Rapaport in the unlikely role of femme fatale. The relationship between elegant English hit man Ronnie (Gary Stretch) and his dese-dem-dose protege August (Rapaport), though surrounded […]

  • Locarno: Beta Cinema Takes Piazza Grande

    Locarno: Beta Cinema Takes Piazza Grande Entry ‘What Doesn’t Kill Us,’ from Sandra Nettelbeck (EXCLUSIVE)

    Despite its apparent adherence to the buddy-movie genre as reinvented withexistential assassins in “Pulp Fiction,” Craig Singer’s sophomore outing only makes sense as a noir love story, with Michael Rapaport in the unlikely role of femme fatale. The relationship between elegant English hit man Ronnie (Gary Stretch) and his dese-dem-dose protege August (Rapaport), though surrounded […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content