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'City of Industry'

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
March 14, 1997

You can hear the "Reservoir Dogs" howling in the background of this hyperbolic, postmodern film noir. A purple, pulp fiction of the sort Quentin Tarantino viciously lampooned in "Dogs," this ruff-tuff thriller gets downright nostalgic for bad old days, that once upon a time when there was honor among thieves. If we are to believe Ken Solarzís heavily leaded, but wistful screenplay, apparently there was such an era, but itís been supplanted by the decadent young criminals of the í90s.

Directed by British jack-of-all-genres, John Irvin, the film focuses on the emotional journey of Roy Egan (nail-noshing Harvey Kietel), an old-fashioned outlaw who reluctantly comes out of retirement to help his younger brother Lee (Timothy Hutton) rob a jewelry store. The robbery is successful, if lacking in finesse, but all hell breaks loose when it comes time to divvy up the take with their partners, Skip (rabid Stephen Dorff) and Jorge (Wade Dominguez).

Skip, a greedy young punk with the scruples of a shark, makes off with the loot after shooting Jorge and Lee. However, Roy escapes and with help from Jorgeís widow (Famke Janssen), the wily retiree sets out to even up the score. As he searches for Skip, the middle-aged Roy discovers that ethnic diversity has come to L.A.ís underworld and that streets are meaner than they used to be.

While thereís truth to the point, itís frequently and more effectively demonstrated on the evening news. In comparison, "City of Industry" looks pitifully naive.

CITY OF INDUSTRY (R) -- Contains lots of violence, some sex, lots of cussing, smoking, drinking and naked women.

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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