Release Date: August 18th, 2006 (Village East Cinemas) by THINKfilm.
The Cast: James Marsden, Giovanni Ribisi, Brad Renfro, Piper Perabo, Dennis Hopper, Leslie Ann Warren, Tommy Lee, Brian Dennehy, Val Kilmer, Jeffrey Tott, Leo Rossi.
Directed by Robert Moresco.
BASIC PREMISE: Tommy (Marden) joins the Philadelphia mob as an FBI informant while protecting his cousin, Joey (Ribisi), and brother, Vincent (Renfro). Based on a true story.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 10th and Wolf has all the right elements of a thrilling gangster film but squanders them with a weak script and generally unconvincing performances. James Marsden is Tommy, an ex-U.S. marine who comes back to his Philadelphia hometown to escape the Gulf War. Two FBI agents (Dennehy and Rossi) blackmail him to act as an FBI informant, so he must wear a hidden tape recorder. In an earlier scene, another secret FBI informant gets killed by a mob hitman after getting caught, so Tommy certainly puts his life on the line. The bloody second act pretty much shows the inner workings of the mob which includes Tommy’s cousin, Joey and his brother Vincent, both whom help to run a strip club. As usual, Giavanni Ribisi gives an excellent performance as Joey. Piper Perabo plays Brandy, a bartender at the strip club and a potential love interest for Tommy, but she doesn’t have enough material to show any range in her acting abilities. The plot seems too disjointed and fails to generate any real suspense or thrills despite all of the gruesome violence. Although the dialogue does feel mostly natural, the script by co-writers Robert Moresco and Allen Steele fails to bring any of the characters to life so that you care about what happens to them. It would have been helpful to include some comic relief. As a director, Robert Moresco does include some decent cinematography which reflects the gritty world of the mob. The third act feels a bit contrived, especially with the romance between Tommy and Brandy who don’t have much chemistry together. On a positive note, there are some lively cameos to spot such as Val Kilmer, Dennis Hopper and Tommy Lee. If only they had used Christopher Walken—he would have definitely helped enlivened this film in so many different ways to make this movie more than just mildly entertaining.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A disjointed plot and poor character development.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 4
IN A NUTSHELL: Mildly entertaining and gritty, but often disjointed and dull.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
The "#0-9" Menu