Retro Review: $teal

Written: May 5, 2003

(also known as Riders)

Skate fast, dodge bullets and smell the cold hard cash. Now can you say; been there done that. That is basically what “$teal” is.

Indie film rebel Stephen Dorff stars as Slim, a master thief who uses extreme stunts to make off with the goods. In Slim’s posse are hard-as-nails bad girl, Alex (Karen Cliché), resident comic relief Frank (Steven McCarthy) and reliable Otis (Cle Bennett).

The foursome find themselves at the brink of the biggest heist of their careers except the scope and magnitude of the heist gets complicated when the posse is blackmailed into splitting their retirement money or risk exposure.

If that wasn’t bad enough it seems that the police department’s head-stooge Jake Macgruder (Bruce Payne) has hired on Karen (Natasha Henstridge), a sexy second in command to seek out Slim.

“$teal” comes off more as training video for would be stuntmen than an actual slice of heisting heaven. The film has side-splittingly bad dialogue and acting that would make a porn star blush. The story and the film’s attempt at trying to tell one is lost on so many aspects I ran out of fingers and toes to count them.

The only redeeming features in this film are the stunts. There are some pretty spectacular ones. What could have made the film a lot more interesting is that if the stunts were cut out and thrown together for IMAX viewers. I can understand this being a rental at a video store but that’s all.

It really is a shame that Stephen Dorff seems to be saddled with awful projects like this. What has happened to this actor? After witnessing an episode of “She Spies”, I understand why Henstridge is here but Dorff’s involvement boggles my mind. Probably the funniest moment throughout the film is the acting of Bruce Payne. What is he trying to do with that accent? He is so awful he is hilarious. He belongs in a re-run of the 60s Batman TV series.

Besides the stunts and Dorff’s enigmatic appeal, “$teal” left me cold and hard inside as I laughed myself silly at how blatantly bad it is.

(1 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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