What can I say about writer / producer / director John Stu’s film ‘Hardrock’? I’m kind of stuck here because I can’t call it a ‘good’ movie because there are way too many things wrong with it, but I’d also be lying to you if I told you I didn’t kind of enjoy it a little bit. Maybe even a lotta bit even. But I’m telling you as sure as I’m sitting here in front of this computer that it is NOT a good movie.
Tommy (Tom Arlotta) and Bucky (James Paris) are couple of heavy hitters in the drug distribution game in what I’m guessing is New York City. Somehow a State Supreme Court justice’s daughter gets a hold of some bad X and dies, leading the judge to decide to crack down on the drug trade. Shame it took the death of his daughter for him to freaking DO HIS JOB! The head of the East Coat drug trade, Cisco, sends his crew of business suit wearing, surgical mask sporting hitmen known as ‘The Surgeons’ to kidnap Tommy and Bucky, by shooting tranquilizer darts in their spinal chords, and bringing them to his place of operation. Cisco doesn’t care who gave the doomed girl the bad drugs but if Tommy and Bucky want to live they better find out who it was and make for damn sure it doesn’t happen anymore because we can’t have Federal judges cracking down on the drug trade now can we?
Though the extremely hyper and hostile Tommy and the smooth dapper Bucky hate each other, despite the fact that they don’t know each other, they team up and become a low budget Rico Tubbs and Sonny Crockett in their efforts find out who killed the Judges daughter. I say killed because somebody gave the girl a ‘Hardrock’ which is a form of ecstasy that doesn’t dissolve and will sit in your stomach and kill you unless it’s pumped out in five minutes. Along the way Bucky makes the acquaintance of
some pretty girl who asks a lot questions ‘Charlie’s Angel’s’ style, and Tommy just gets more and more pissed off. Our pair of roughneck detectives seem to have stumbled upon a bit of a conspiracy with the hope being that they can take out whoever it is that needs taking out before this somebody ends up taking them out.
The first film that I had seen from director John Stu was ‘Ice Grill’ which made me want to blow my brains out. Had I known that the director of ‘Hardrock’ was also the director of ‘Ice Grill’ before going into this movie I wouldn’t have THOUGHT to place this in my Netflix cue. But ‘Hardrock’ is to ‘Ice Grill’ what ‘Raging Bull’ is to ‘Kazaam’, and that’s with me informing you that ‘Hardrock’ is fairly awful.
Running at a brief 79 minutes ‘Hardrock’ feels as if there are large chunks of the movie that are just plain missing. Rarely do I recommend that any movie be longer, particularly a film such as this, but there were scenes that popped up that left me wondering where in the hell did that come from. One of the characters constantly referenced ‘our man on the inside’ to the judge, who I suppose was maybe Tommy? Maybe? But they sure didn’t seem to want to keep us informed on that one way or the other. Our duo shows up in places and kill people, though you’re are wondering why they’re killing people, Michael Wright makes an appearance an Original Gangster and why he’s there talking to them in the first place is also unclear. There are so many little nuggets of confusion littered throughout this entire film that it could have been re-titled ‘Loose Endz’.
Of our two leads Tom Arlotta fared a little better James Paris as Mr. Paris didn’t deliver his lines with too much conviction or authority. Arlotta only played one note throughout the film, angry and pissed off, but he did play it reasonably well. Other than Arlotta most of the acting the film was amateurish, except for Michael Wright who is the only ‘name’ is the flick. It doesn’t help our inexperienced actors that the John Stu isn’t much of a film director. The pacing in ‘Hardrock’ is very inconsistent and erratic, some of the camera shots and angles were poorly chosen, he doesn’t shoot his action scenes with any energy or realism and the editing is also inconsistent.
So with so many things wrong with this movie what possibly could I have to like in it? Well, though John Stu has a ways to go to be considered a competent director he has crafted a fairly interesting narrative. The execution was poor but I did like the story itself. ‘Hardrock’ also had some rather dynamically lit sit scenes, though it too was inconsistent and the casting director also has a keen eye for pretty Black women which doesn’t suck on any planet. But honestly ‘Hardrock’ WAS reasonably entertaining, and I really can’t break down the where and why this was, but I didn’t leave this movie, despite it’s infinite flaws, hating myself for watching it.
There is a chance you may expect a certain level of competence out of your films, and normally I do to, but I just can’t sit here typing a lie that I hated this film, while recognizing that there was a lot to hate. ‘Hardrock’ is that rare breed of bad B-movie that manages some goodness in its badness, and I can’t be too mad at that.