The press release read, “David Spade’s first Dramatic Role in the new film thriller, “Warning Shot”… Sure, that was interesting news, and I skimmed over the rest of the press release, but it wasn’t until the opening credits rolled that I blurted, “James Earl Jones? How in the hell did this movie get James Earl Jones?” Guess I missed that name in the release.
And so I was off, watching Mr. Spade in his first dramatic role, and waiting for Mr. Jones to grace the screen.
The gist of the story is that a family wants the water rights from a neighboring land owner. This family feud has been going on for years. David Spade is Bobby, the grandson of Calvin (Bruce Dern). Bobby is trying to make his granddad proud by finally getting the water, and he’s got a plan – He’s going to send two goons to convince the other granddad to sign over the rights.
Wouldn’t you know it, they didn’t realize granddad #2 just died. Now they have to deal with the granddaughter, Audrey (Tammy Blanchard).
Bobby, however, isn’t the best at picking out his goons. Nope, he picks two dudes who haven’t worked together, in the likes of Rainy (Guillermo Diaz) and Jawari (Dwight Henry). As tends to happen with goons, we get the crazy one with no heart, in this case Rainy, and the stable one with feelings, that of course being Jawari. Guess what? Yup, they end up having a contentious relationship.
Back to Audrey…
Audrey has her own issues. She’s a single mom, just trying to make ends meet for her daughter, Cheyenne (Onata Aprile), and when granddad dies she meets with Mr. Pendleton (Yay, James Earl Jones!), the family lawyer in charge of the estate. It’s not reading time for the will, yet, but Audrey is hoping she will get the family land and house as she just was evicted from her apartment.
So, yea, our goons are at granddad #2’s house looking to rough up the old man who is already dead, and here comes Audrey. Now, since Rainy is crazy, of course there isn’t any rational chatting with Audrey about signing over the water rights. Nope, it’s time for some kidnapping and attempted rape. I told you Rainy was crazy. Of course Jawari is in shock all of this is craziness, so he starts smoking a joint, and Rainy delivers the most well-placed line of the movie as he is also enhancing his mood, “It’s just a little coke.”
Things now rotate between Rainy being in charge, Jawari taking charge, Rainy being back in charge, David (Frank Whaley) coming to the door trying to sell religion and now being part of the kidnapping, and Bobby finally showing up only to discover the complete bat-shit craziness of Rainy, yet not being too fazed about it as he just wants the water rights signed over.
The movie was doing well as a psychological thriller up to this point, what with all of the drama unfolding inside the house. I could have gone without the shaky, “artsy” camera work during Rainy’s complete insanity moment in the house, and sure, things got a little to over-the-topish with all of the “These are my demons. What are yours?” moments, but for the most part Spade was doing well in the “drama” side. Guillermo Diaz as Rainy, though, was really stealing the show, especially with his various soliloquies with Audrey, Cheyenne, and “Why the hell is this guy really in this movie” David.
The problem for me with “Warning Shot” came when, of course, Audrey and Cheyenne escape her captors, and then it’s back to “shaky, artsy camera time” during the chasing scenes. Maybe it’s just a personal preference, but I really don’t like the “shaky camera” stuff.
Yes, low and behold there is a wacky twist, our heroes in Audrey and Cheyenne live ever after, and I’m still left wondering how James Earl Jones found this role.
At the end of it all “Warning Shot” had a lot of potential on the thriller front, but lost it with some unnecessary “over-the-topness.” It played out better with the scenes inside the house, although I do understand some of the desire for the outdoor chases, especially with the “these are my demons” confessions. David Spade did well in his first, dramatic role, Guillermo Diaz was a treat to watch in all of his craziness, I’m still wondering why the character of David was necessary, and James Earl Jones was, well, the proverbial James Earl Jones.
I’ll give “Warning Shot” 3 1/2 stars out of 5. Enjoy Guillermo, you won’t be disappointed with Mr. Spade, but you will probably be left with a “That’s it?” feeling at the end of it all.
That’s it for this one! L8R!!