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'10 Cent Pistol' wants to be pulp fiction but misfires

'10 Cent Pistol' wants to be pulp fiction but misfires
Jena Malone as Danneel and Damon Alexander as Easton in the thriller "10 Cent Pistol." (eOne Entertainment)

"10 Cent Pistol" serves as a perfect example of getting what you pay for.

A flimsy, unfocused revenge caper that attempts to talk the talk of Tarantino and Scorsese characters without providing the sturdy backbone to walk the walk, this first feature by TV scribe Michael C. Martin misses its pulpy target.

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Determined to retrieve stolen bonds, a pair of lowlife brothers (played by real-life siblings J.T. Alexander and Damon Alexander), along with the budding actress with whom they are both smitten (Jena Malone, channeling Amy Adams) descend on a Los Angeles mansion belonging to a gangster named Punchy (Joe Mantegna).

Rather than sticking with that entirely workable setup, writer-director Martin keeps distractedly flip-flopping back and forth in time leading up to the big heist, preventing the plotting from building any tangible tension.

Besides the obligatory double-crosses and bullet holes, the film, sharing its title with a Black Keys song, is also riddled with pointless voice-overs and extended chunks of mundane dialogue spoken by shallow, clichéd characters in a genre that cries out for heavyweights.

Even with the very limited participation of seasoned pros Mantegna and Adam Arkin, "10 Cent Pistol," which, in street slang, concerns drugs laced with lethal amounts of poison, is a dime store dud.

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"10 Cent Pistol."

No MPAA rating.

Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes.

Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood. Also on video on demand.

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