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Brandon Judell

Splinter: Boyz in the Hood Redux


Director: Michael D. Olmos
Cast: Tom Sizemore, Edward James Olmos, Enrique Almeida, Resmine Atis, Noel Gugliemi, Delilah Cotto, Ivonne Coll, Dallas Page, Billy Garcia, Emilio Rivera, Adam Rodriquez, Danny Ortiz

Reviewed by Brandon Judell, August 23, 2007.

Splinter Movie Poster.

Tom Sizemore—who is lately more memorable for his tabloid appearances, Heidi Fleiss friendship, and jail sentences than for his thespian skills— recently was cast as God in Marc Wasserman's "Commute." That's what happens when George Burns isn't around anymore.

However, in "Splinter," a not-bad actioner directed by Edward James Olmos' s little boy, Michael D., Sizemore is playing someone closer to home.

Yes, Detective Cunningham is a seedy, alcoholic L.A. cop who's corrupt to the gills. Luckily for him, where he's situated, he almost doesn't stand out.

Cunningham (sloshed): "What's your poison? Men? Money? Dope? Don't waste a drop. Whatever I pour, you drink.

His favorite bar is situated where the neighborhood of Paradise Garden bumps into Greenville Heights, West Coast havens spotlighting hourly, Hispanic street-gang drive-bys. (By the way, if you're on the lookout for hunky, chunky, shaved-headed, goateed Spanish men, search no further.)

The tale begins here when Dreamer (Enrique Almeida) gets shot in the head while plopped down in an auto. Happily, the guy survives, but with a splintered memory. He senses he saw who tried to kill him, but the recollection isn't coming forth.

Cunningham's new partner, the appealing and extremely honest Detective Gramm (Resmine Atis), won't accept that. Come on, Dreamer! Get it together.

Well, as Dreamer's glimmerings from the past slowly start surfacing, there seems to be a sadistic murderer on the warpath putting the kibosh on his homeboys. Oh, no! These demises aren't pretty.

Can Gramm, who has psychic abilities to relive murders, solve the case before both Dreamer and she get whacked off? Expect the unexpected.

Truthfully, this isn't a bad calling card for most involved. Although Sizemore overacts and Atis seems more fit for an episode of "Charlie's Angels" than a gangland-shooting epic, the rest of the cast at least look their parts. And Hector Atreyu Ruiz as the mean, lean leader, Trigger, vibrates all over the screen whenever the camera rests upon him, which is not nearly enough. Stardom, or at least supporting actor stardom, is in his cards.

Also, applaud worthy are Jamieson Fry's first-rate opening title segment.

As for Olmos, he has achieved more than most could have with an often clichéd screenplay ("Homies are getting killed every day. It's sad." "Those are our fucken homeboys back there. Why don't you show a little respect?") and overly artsy cinematography with enough close-ups for a Bergman tear-fest. Expect to see this young man honing his considerable skills further on late-night cable TV fare.

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