Monday, March 5, 2012

One rough Chop: The Grind (2009)

If the first fifteen minutes of a film are the film in microrcosm, then you might just be able to spare yourself excessive torture in the case of this free-wheeling but ultimately tedious thriller, set in the moral wasteland that is suburban Southern California.

In he opener, a man (C Thomas Howell) has had his hand run through a kitchen sink disposal; another man has been stabbed to death by a young woman with whom he has just had sex, and  the previous man - who also doubles as a kind of infrequent narrator - has had himself set up in the Internet reality soft-porn business (, courtesy of a teenage apprentice and his black associate, both of whom have various degrees from the proverbial school of hard knocks.

The rest of the film maintains this lurid trajectory, even as the "protagonist" struggles to get enough returns from the business to make good on his outstanding obligations to the men who tried to grind his hand up. Those guys are led by a fearsome figure, none other than Danny Trejo - who following this release would go on to such glorious roles as "Machete". Another well-known Hollywood miscreant, Tom Sizemore, rounds out the rogues' gallery.

Of all the tarnished stars, Howell appears to have come closest to getting his act together. He appears to have clawed his way out of the child-star abyss that he fell into after the classic, "E.T." and has roles in several big-budget action features, including the forthcoming summer blockbuster, "The Amazing Spider-Man".

In the meantime though, bills have to be paid, so there'll be modern-day B-movies like this one, with its soft-core girl-on-girl scenes, views of seedy Cali, and hardcore violence. it adds credits all around and provides minimal employment threaded by the thrill of near illegality, not unlike the venture undertaken in this story.

tom Sizemore

C Thomas Howell

Danny trejo

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