I wanted to like this film. I love Elmore Leonard novels, and loved Get Shorty, 52 Pickup, Get Straight and Jackie Brown (Rum Punch). In the hands of a master like Tarantino, Elmore Leonard's complex and fast-paced plots, with numerous characters throwing witty street banter around, really shine.
Unfortunately, Charles Mattheau isn't up to the task, and characters are miscast, pacing is awful, even the score is wrong in so many places. This film often comes off as a bad TV tongue-in-cheek crime show, complete with dramatic musical flourishes when the camera zooms in on the sexy legs of actresses Sabina Gadeki and Breanne Racano. (Their legs and other beautiful body parts are the best things about these mediocre actresses, in my opinion). The explosion scenes are evidence of a severe shortage in the sfx budget as well as the actor budget.
Even the usually outstanding Crispin Glover as the spacey drunken rich guy Woody Ricks is tepid, either overacting scenes or underacting them. Everything seems out of sync in this film.
Perhaps I'm holding it up to too high of a standard with the aforementioned Leonard film adaptations. But it is what it is...and cool 70's sets and apparel (the novel was set in the 60s), witty Leonard dialog and clever plot apparently weren't enough for director Mattheau to pull this off. I have to believe Elmore Leonard is supremely disappointed in this effort, since as I recall he labeled this his favorite novel. One can only hope that someday a director like Tarantino remakes this film the right way, and captures the crazy 60's vibe from the novel.