Blood simple

"Shallow Grave" a clinical exercise in gore and paranoia; the Tao of girls and guns in "Love & a .45"

Of course, there was a time when only the teacup Transcendentalists took the road less traveled to explore the mysteries of the Orient. Now even blue-collar badasses hang up their guns to walk the earth ... you know, like Caine in Kung Fu. In the company of superior pulp fictions, Talkington's Zen insight isn't enough to rescue his uneven ode to the open road.

As chewing gum for short attention spans, Love & a .45 offers the performances of Dazed and Confused's Rory Cochrane as a particularly uneasy rider and Peter Fonda as a near-absurdist casualty of the '60s. Bellows bogs down beneath the Confucian confusion foisted on him by Talkington; Zellweger, somewhere between Laura Dern and Kristy Swanson in her screen presence, isn't asked to do more than look good in short cutoffs. At finish Love & a .45 too closely resembles the smirky Americana of Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me, another unhappy marriage of the Tao of highway and The Dukes of Hazzard.

William O. Goggins
Shallow Grave opens Fri, Feb. 24, at the Kabuki in S.F. and the UA Berkeley. Love & a .45 opens Fri, Feb. 24, at the Red Vic in S.F. and also plays Feb. 24-25 at Berkeley's U.C. Theatre.

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