Convoluted crime caper meets clunky redemption drama in “Emerald Run,” a to-hell-and-back mishmash perhaps best characterized by protagonist John Thomas (David Chokachi of TV’s “Baywatch” and “Witchblade”) when, during the film’s third act, he angrily asks, “What was the point of all this?”
The “point,” at least as we’re told, is to renew this lost soul’s faith via a journey to the Mexican desert to smuggle uncut gems for his mobbish father-in-law (Chris Mulkey). The underemployed John thinks he’s doing this for extra cash to pay for the medical needs of his mysteriously ill daughter (Marialisa Caruso, co-writer with executive producer Anthony Caruso). He crosses the border expecting to return quickly.
But once in Mexico, John soon finds himself injured, bleeding, without food and water, and eluding a pair of gun-wielding thugs as he and his ill-fated driver (Sean Burgos) struggle to make it across the desert to safety. En route, John has dreams and hallucinations that include “encounters” with a missing friend (John Schneider) and a Bible-toting preacher (Steven Williams).
A fanatical trailer-dweller (Vernon Wells) also strangely factors in.
The movie, filmed over several start-and-stop years (credited director Eric Etebari completed the shoot) contains lots of weak dialogue, heavy-handed faith talk, awkward voiceovers, thin characterizations and illogical plot turns. Any questions?
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Playing: Starts Feb. 21 in limited release