Truth or Consequences, N. M. (1997) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Scoop's comments in white

If there were no Quentin Tarantino, mankind would have to invent him. Let's hope he never reads that. The sumbitch has a big enough ego after being compared to Godard. Imagine how large his head will get if he sees himself compared to God, without the -ard.

Tarantino's Pulp Fiction was a cool film, telling a story from the point of view of different types of baddies and losers, combining its stylized ultra-violence with "hip" pop lingo. I didn't think it was quite as hip as everyone else seemed to think, but I thought it was an interesting piece of lurid entertainment, and a perfect match to its title, reflecting the attitudes of the fiction found in the sleaziest pulp magazines. Unfortunately, Tarantino's success and acclaim inspired a whole bunch of people to try to do just about the same thing despite a lack of Tarantinoesque talent and panache. Truth or Consequences, N.M. is one such example. This was the first theatrical film (second overall) directed by Kiefer Sutherland, who also played the hammiest role (the trigger-happy, gun-crazy guy who is de rigueur in B-movie crime stories).

It begins with a bunch of low-rent thugs ripping off some mobsters. Isn't that how these things always start? Predictably, the heist gets messed up and all the mobsters end up dying grisly deaths. Worse yet, one of the mobsters was an undercover DEA agent. The stumblebums also manage to kill a bunch of police officers in the process of making their getaway. Therefore, our inept antiheroes have both the mob and the Feds after them as they make a low-tech run for the border.

We have the usual characters in their "band of four".

  • The flamboyant loose cannon guy.
  • The crime-as-a-lunchbox-job guy who just wants to make one score and move to Mexico with his girlfriend.
  • The actual girlfriend.
  • Another undercover cop.

The gang manages to pick up two hostages along the way, and the male hostage succumbs to Stockholm Syndrome, which means he starts to identify with his captors and tries to become one of the gang, a rather complicated procedure since one of their gang is a cop to begin with, and refuses to accept his application!

Along the way to their inevitable big shoot-out in an old deserted house, the crooks and hostages create a massive body count and exchange pseudo-Tarantinian banter about the nutritional properties of breakfast burritos, the discomfort factor in Early American furniture, the gas mileage in recreational vehicles, and so forth.


DVD info from Amazon

  • Two versions: full screen and widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • no meaningful features



Kim Dickens shows her breasts in a very dark sex scene.

Tuna's comments in yellow

Truth or Consequences N.M. is essentially a story of six people on the road. No, wait a minute, it is a tragic romance. No, that isn't right, it is a violent crime drama (violent enough that they had to struggle with the MPAA to obtain an R rating.) Well, whatever it is, it is a lot of fun.

Vincent Gallo is released from prison, and is picked up by his main squeeze, Kim Dickens. Cut to a few weeks into the future, and the two of them are teamed with Mykelti Williamson and maniac Kiefer Sutherland (who also directed) to rip off a drug supplier. Good plan, but a few problems develop. The warehouse where they intend to grab the dope isn't empty. The drug supplier is there, along with someone else. Sutherland blows both men away, only to find that the second man was a DEA agent. Then the gang also kills several cops as they hotfoot it out of town.

Meanwhile, back at the DEA, we learn that they were caught on surveillance cameras and that one of the gang (Williamson) is also a DEA agent.
The gang members (rightly) figure out that their car is made, so they hijack a motor home and keep the owners (Kevin Pollack and Grace Phillips) as hostages. Their plan is to sell the drugs to a Mafia type, then head for Mexico. Unfortunately, the Mafia type is already the actual owner of the stolen drugs! Meanwhile the kidnapped Pollack begins to be lured by the criminal lifestyle. All of this leads to a three-way showdown in Truth or Consequences, N.M.

It moves briskly, has lots of action, and is well acted. For me, it worked best during the darkly comic moments. Although the ending was completely appropriate, I was disappointed, simply because the script had made Dickens and Gallo a little too sympathetic for their ultimate fate.

The Critics Vote

The People Vote ...

  • total USA gross: $54,000
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, Scoop says, "This film is a C. Grisly, violent, over-the-top and predictable, but usually energetic and often quite watchable." Tuna says, "This is a C+. It moves briskly, has lots of action, and is well acted."

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