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Writer-director Marc Clebanoff’s “Break” is a violent, cartoonish noir that prominently features an alcoholic kung-fu master, a thug who speaks only in haiku and David Carradine with a midget on a leash. Amazingly, it still manages to be crushingly dull. Ugly and inert, “Break” strives for grindhouse thrills but lacks the verve and style that made those films so beloved, and is neither sincere nor intelligent enough to develop into anything more. Pic opened May 1 in Los Angeles.

 Introduced ordering a cola from a bar (just one of many repeated affectations in search of a character), Frank Krueger stars as the least convincing tough guy on earth, hired by a dying underworld kingpin known as the Man (Chad Everett) to assassinate both him and his young girlfriend (Sarah Thompson), so they can be together in death. Said girlfriend turns out to be the protagonist’s old flame, and he sets about devising a plan to save her while ducking the Man’s henchmen. Along the way, Michael Madsen and Charles Durning are wasted in inconsequential roles, and clunky martial-arts sequences are shoehorned in for no conceivable reason. Production values are amateurish.

Break

  • Production: A Cinema Epoch release of an Odyssey Motion Pictures presentation, in association with Full Force Films and Jealous Brother Prods. Produced by Marc Clebanoff, Joseph Isgro, Luca Palanca. Executive producer, Dan Michaels. Directed, written by Marc Clebanoff.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Tim Otholt; editors, Ran Ballard, Vashi Nedomanski; music, Peter DiStefano; production designer, Alex Cassun; costume designers, Elizabeth Jett, Jude McVay. Reviewed at Laemmle Music Hall, Los Angeles, May 6, 2009. Running time: 94 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Frank Krueger, Sarah Thompson, Michael Madsen, Chad Everett, Mackenzie Firgens, Charles Durning, Matthew Jones, Xin Sarith Wuku, David Carradine.
  • Music By: