Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Not to be mixed in with Wesley Snipes recent spate of direct to video Hungarian produced action films, i.e., ‘The Detonator’, ‘The Marksman’, or ‘Seven Seconds’, the Mario Van Peebles directed ‘Hard Luck’ is something completely different, though the trailer and box cover would have you believe that it’s another throw away actioner.  Quite honestly, I don’t know how you would classify this film.  A hood gangster, serial killer, road picture for the Fargo crowd perhaps?

Snipes is Lucky.  Well actually he’s an unlucky bastard, but his name is Lucky.  A top shelf Brooklyn hustler from back in the day, he does a lengthy stint in the joint and finds his life turns around when his prison case worker Rainn (Aubrey Dollar) introduces him to the magic of books.  When his stint is over, Lucky and Aubrey find love, move to Louisiana and get a dog leading Lucky to think his luck has finally changed.  Then comes Katrina which takes everything away from him, forcing Lucky to make his way back to Brooklyn and try to make a new, but legitimate, life back home.

When Jewish wannabe hip hop gangsta Roland (Kevin Thoms) begs Lucky to join him at a strip-club for his b-day party, Lucky goes against his better judgment.  Lucky should have followed his instincts because soon there is a deal going down, drugs and money are changing hands, police show up, guns are shot, people die and Lucky is stuck holding two briefcases each with 250 large in them.  He grabs the cases, and takes the car of one the strippers, who is still in her car at the time, and makes a run for it. The stripper, Angela (Jackie Quijones) is going nuts…  STOP.  About one

Jacquelyn Quijones.  Mario Van Peebles may have been able to find a prettier actress and he may have been able to find a better actress.  But he would NOT have been able to find an actress with a nicer ass.  I almost have to recommend this flick based on this woman’s ass alone.  I mean it is like noice!  Considering she had to spend like much of the first half of the movie nude, I can see where the director was going with that.  I totally feel his vibe there.  The comments stated above are simply the opinions of the author and not representative of  But we agree she has an outstanding behind. 

Cybil Shepard pops in as serial killing mother, Mario Van Peebles shows up as a cop convinced Lucky will never do right, Luis Guzman rears his head as a gay porn producer (or should I say a porn producer who is gay?) Angela and Lucky form a tenuous partnership on the run that will probably lead to love, then everything comes together and chaos ensues.

About halfway through, this one it seemed to be a totally confusing mess with serial killers on one side, dirty cops on the other, porn producers to the left, gangsters to the right with Snipes stuck in the middle… Then everything starts to come together and I have to admit I kind of liked it.  I didn’t love it, but I kinda liked it.  Van Peebles and Snipes are together for the first time since 1991’s ‘New Jack City’ and they seem to revisiting that film in an off the road kind of way.  Imagine Nino Brown 15 years later (if he didn’t die back in New Jack) with his life turned around.  Who would believe Nino Brown could turn his life around?  Definitely not the Captain Davis (Van Peebles) the cop that put him away.  The movie probably would have worked better simply on that level, with the Nino Brown character stumbling no matter what he does and the cop swearing to put him back where he belongs.  Once we start meeting serial killers and porn producers, retarded baby huey’s, ultimate fighters, and Jewish hip hoppers it seems ‘Hard Luck’ wants to be an off beat character piece and if fails miserably as that.

It was different though, and that’s worth something.  Wesley Snipes at least tries in this one, which can’t be said for the mailed in performance he gave in ‘The Detonator’.  After the excellent ‘Badasss’ I expected something a little more from Mario his next time out, but he does manage to create a passably entertaining, if messy tale.  He also had the wisdom to cast Jackie Quijones’ ass.  Had this movie the been released to theaters (as if) as opposed to straight to video, above title on the marquee it would say; Jackie Quijones Ass in HARD LUCK with Wesley’s name below the title.  At least that’s how I would have done it.

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