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"THE SALTON SEA"
(2002) (Val Kilmer, Vincent D'Onofrio) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Extreme Extreme Extreme Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Heavy Moderate Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Heavy Moderate Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A man loses track of his identity after going undercover and creating a new persona to track down those responsible for his wife's death.
PLOT:
A man (VAL KILMER) sits in a burning room playing a trumpet, seemingly unaware of or completely at ease with the danger he's in. He may be Danny Parker or Tom Van Allen, but he isn't sure, and so he invites us to decide while taking us on a trip leading up to this point.

We first see Danny as a "tweaker," one of many men including Jimmy The Finn (PETER SARSGAARD) and Kujo (ADAM GOLDBERG) who are users and addicts of crystal methamphetamine. Yet, things aren't what they initially seem. It turns out that Danny is an informant to L.A. narcotics agents Morgan (DOUG HUTCHISON) and Garcetti (ANTHONY LaPAGLIA), who use his tips to bust drug rings. They're currently interested in his dealings with Bubba (B. D. WONG), an Asian man dressed somewhat like a cowboy.

With the help of Jimmy, Danny then arranges to meet Pooh-Bear (VINCENT D'ONOFRIO), a notorious and deranged dealer who did so much "gack" that his real nose had to be cut off. As his henchman, Big Bill (JOSH TODD) and Little Bill (DANNY TREJO), keep an eye on him, Danny arranges a large drug buy for Bubba through Pooh-Bear.

As all of this occurs, Danny must deal with a mysterious car that keeps following him, knowledge that his neighbor, Colette (DEBORAH KARA UNGER), is being abused by her violent and ill-tempered boyfriend, Quincy (LUIS GUZMAN), as well as conflicting memories of his past life as Tom Van Allen, a trumpeter with a beautiful wife, Liz (CHANDRA WEST).

As things continue to play out, we repeatedly learn that things aren't what they initially seem and then watch as Danny attempts to complete an elaborate plan of revenge against those he believes have wronged him.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast, it doesn't seem likely that any but the oldest of teens might be interested in it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong violence, drug use, language and some sexuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • VAL KILMER plays a man who doesn't know who he is anymore. When we first see him, he's a druggie who uses drugs, strong profanity and appears to be a rat to the police. We then learn that he's attempting to avenge his wife's death and kills many bad people in the process.
  • VINCENT D'ONOFRIO plays a deranged drug dealer/kingpin who's missing his nose from too much drug use and has no qualms about killing.
  • DEBORAH KARA UNGER plays Danny's neighbor who befriends him but must deal with her boyfriend's constant emotional and physical abuse.
  • ANTHONY LaPAGLIA plays a corrupt cop who uses strong profanity and employs Danny as his informant.
  • DOUG HUTCHISON plays his equally corrupt cop partner.
  • PETER SARSGAARD plays Danny's best friend (in the druggie world) who does drugs, smokes and uses profanity, but is there when Danny needs him.
  • ADAM GOLDBERG plays another drug user who does drugs, smokes and uses strong profanity.
  • LUIS GUZMAN plays Colette's abusive boyfriend who beats her. He uses strong profanity.
  • B. D. WONG plays an undercover agent who initially appears to be a drug dealer/buyer.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 81 "f" words, along with many other expletives and colorful phrases. A character sings a song with a reference to oral sex, while a sexual encounter is briefly seen (with movement and sounds).

    Violence is listed as extreme due to many people being shot and killed with bloody results, while non-lethal violence involves people hitting others, including the results of a man repeatedly beating a woman. Some of those scenes and others may also be unsettling or suspenseful to viewers (including the sight of a man missing his nose and a scene where he kills several pigeons in a re-creation of the JFK assassination).

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, smoke, and/or drink and use drugs (a great deal of the latter occurs as the protagonist becomes a drug user as part of his undercover plan to avenge his wife's death).

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.



    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • As the protagonist comments on who he really is, he mentions "speed freak" among others (meaning the drug) and then goes on about the manufacturing of a drug and its effects on people in the past.
  • We see a guy who's high on drugs buying cold medication in a store for some of their ingredients, and then see him in a kitchen cooking up more drugs.
  • We see a roomful of people doing drugs (snorting coke, etc.), including the protagonist, and we hear they've been doing them for three or four days straight.
  • Danny and Jimmy go to see a drug dealer who's both high and paranoid and has a woman trapped under his motel room mattress (we see her legs sticking out from under it).
  • A man snorts coke.
  • More people do drugs (including snorting coke off a woman's bare belly) in a montage that shows a great deal of use.
  • We see Danny holding a beer while everyone else is passed out or asleep after the above montage.
  • Danny drinks liquor from a bottle.
  • Danny walks along with a beer in his hand.
  • Jimmy holds a bottle of liquor in a brown paper bag.
  • Jimmy snorts coke and there are beers in front of him and others (some of whom drink).
  • Danny snorts what are presumably drugs and Jimmy then does the same.
  • Danny drinks a beer.
  • In a flashback, Danny purposefully crashes into the back of a parked police vehicle (and says that he was drunk driving, but he wasn't).
  • Jimmy drinks.
  • Some of Pooh-Bear's people drink.
  • After being shot, Pooh-Bear tries to make some drugs for himself and we see him drawing some into a syringe and then injecting that into his neck.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a dead man lying on the street, a gun in his hand and a great deal of blood running from his head and down a street drain.
  • Pooh-Bear recreates the JFK assassination scene using bound pigeons in miniature cars with his minions then firing upon them with real rifles, killing some of them (with bloody results).
  • Kujo goes on about how he and others are going to steal Bob Hope's stool specimen and sell it. We then see an imagined scene where they manage to do that, but the vial is dropped and the excrement hits the floor. We then see Kujo trying to scoop it back into the container.
  • Danny has some blood on his face after being hit.
  • We see that Pooh-Bear has most of his nose missing (we see the meaty-looking hole in his face).
  • We see Colette with a black eye and bruises (indicating that Quincy has beaten her), as well as blood on her knuckles and a bloody lip.
  • We hear Danny urinating.
  • Some people who are hit by gunfire are bloody, with some blood on the floor next to one man.
  • People who've recently been shot are bloody.
  • We see blood running down a mortally wounded woman's hair and dripping into a puddle on the floor, as well as blood on a man who's also been shot.
  • Colette has some blood from her nose.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some viewers may take offense to the protagonist commenting on WWII era Japanese soldiers as well as JFK being drug users, and that's why it took two nuclear bombs to kill the Japanese military during WWII.
  • Danny acts as a rat in giving info to the police who turn out to be corrupt murderers.
  • A cop refers to an unseen person as a "wetback."
  • Quincy calls Colette a "bitch" and beats her.
  • Pooh-Bear, who's a ruthless drug dealer/kingpin, recreates the JFK assassination scene using bound pigeons in miniature cars with his minions then firing upon them with real rifles, killing some of them (with bloody results). He also threatens and attempts to kill other people.
  • Danny takes the law into his own hands and kills various bad people in the process.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may also be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • Danny and Jimmy go to see Bobby, a drug dealer who's both high and paranoid and has a woman trapped under his motel room mattress (we see her legs sticking out from under it and hear her screaming). Bobby then grabs a spear gun and holds it to Jimmy's head while asking nonsensical questions and then does the same to Danny. When they leave and close the door behind them (after buying drugs), two spears suddenly penetrate the door behind him.
  • Danny spots a car following him at night and then takes off running through the alley and hides as it slowly passes by.
  • Since Pooh-Bear appears unhinged and volatile, scenes where Danny is with him and not sure what the man is going to do might be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers (as might a story he tells about taking a hacksaw to a man's head and then about eating brains - with Danny then believing there's some in the eggs he's encouraged to taste).
  • Some of Pooh-Bear's men hold guns on Danny (to his head) and Pooh-Bear demands and then forces Danny's pants down (we don't see anything) before pushing his crotch up against a cage holding a hungry badger. Suspicious that Danny might be a cop or working for them, Pooh-Bear threatens to open the cage and allow the badger access to Danny's exposed crotch. This goes on for a few moments.
  • We see a flashback to a scene where a couple has stopped in a stranger's house to ask for directions. The man asks to use the bathroom, while the strange men in the house unnerve the woman. Suddenly, masked men burst into the house, and shoot and kill the other men, with the woman hiding while her husband is hit and wounded by the gunfire in the bathroom. The woman then accidentally makes a noise that alerts the killers who then come looking for her. As the husband watches from a hole through the wall/door in the bathroom and is powerless to help, we see the killer's gun go up against the woman's head (and the husband sees her being shot, but we don't, although we see her lying bloody and mortally wounded).
  • Danny goes to see Pooh-Bear and we see that he still has a gun taped underneath a table there. Deadly violence then erupts in a several minute sequence that might be suspenseful to some viewers.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • We see archival footage of a WWII kamikaze pilot shooting on a ship and then crashing into it, of Japanese soldiers with rifles, and then of a nuclear bomb exploding.
  • Spear gun/Handguns/Machine guns: Used to threaten, wound or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • We see a dead man lying on the street, a gun in his hand and a great deal of blood running from his head and down a street drain.
  • A gun dealer shows Danny all sorts of guns for purchase.
  • Rifles: Used by Pooh-Bear's minions to shoot and kill tied up pigeons.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Who the f*ck are you?" "What the f*ck /do you want from me/is he holding/were you doing/are you talking about/are you doing here?" "F*ck you," "You f*cking scared me," "Shut the f*ck up," "Don't f*ck with me," "That f*cking bitch," "Sh*thead," "(That's/This is) Bullsh*t," "You scared the sh*t out of me," "What kind of sh*t is this?" "Weasel-faced pr*ck," "C*cks*cking, lowlife tweaker," "Tweaker" (drug user), "Screws up," "Piss," "Shut the hell up," "Moron," "Bitch" (what Quincy calls Colette), "Hell, yeah," "Faggot," "Bad ass," "Chicks" (women), "How the hell did you pull this off?" "What in the hell?" "Take a piss" and "Sucks."
  • Many characters use drugs.
  • Various characters have varying amounts of tattoos (including the protagonist), while others have various piercings.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • An older man sings the Lou Reed song, "Walk on the Wild Side," with the lyrics, "But she never lost her head. Even when she was giving head."
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 81 "f" words (8 used with "mother," 1 used sexually), 23 "s" words, 7 slang terms using male genitals ("pr*ck," "c*cks*cker," "d*ck," "p*cker," "package" and "peepee"), 8 hells, 5 asses, 1 crap, 1 damn, 1 S.O.B., 10 uses of "G-damn," 4 of "Jesus," 3 of "Oh Jesus" and 2 uses each of "God" and "Oh God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see a brief shot (from down on the floor looking up at the bed) of a woman moving up and down on top of a man (with sounds of her as well as the bed rhymically thumping).
  • As a roomful of people do drugs, we also see a woman kissing a man and then a woman.
  • A drugged-up character mentions something about "f*ck my sister."
  • We see a man in just his boxers.
  • More people do drugs (including snorting coke off a woman's bare belly).
  • A woman jokingly tells her husband that he has a "hard ass" with hardly any hair on it. He says thank you, but she continues joking and says she was talking about someone else they were earlier discussing. The two kiss, but that's all we see.
  • We see a woman in a bikini top.
  • An older man sings the Lou Reed song, "Walk on the Wild Side," with the lyrics, "But she never lost her head. Even when she was giving head."
  • Colette briefly kisses Danny.
  • SMOKING
  • Danny smokes more than 5 times, while Pooh-Bear and Colette each smoke a few times and various minor/miscellaneous characters (including Jimmy, Kujo, Garcetti, Bubba and others) also smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • A man tries to comfort his wife after she's been mortally shot.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Revenge and taking justice into one's own hands.
  • Drug use, dealing and the culture surrounding all of that.
  • Corrupt cops.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see archival footage of a WWII kamikaze pilot shooting on a ship and then crashing into it.
  • A man comes out of his trailer on fire (after trying to make homemade drugs) and his trailer then explodes.
  • A drug dealer briefly threatens Danny and Jimmy with a spear gun.
  • We see a dead man lying on the street, a gun in his hand and a great deal of blood running from his head and down a street drain.
  • Danny hears what sounds like Quincy beating up Colette.
  • Pooh-Bear recreates the JFK assassination scene using bound pigeons in miniature cars with his minions then firing upon them with real rifles, killing some of them (with bloody results).
  • In an imagined scene, Kujo falls down a flight of steps and then is hit by an ambulance and run over.
  • Garcetti zaps Danny and Morgan then kicks him in the face on the ground.
  • Some of Pooh-Bear's men hold guns on Danny (to his head) and threaten him with other violence.
  • We hear sounds of one of Pooh-Bear's men being tortured (we hear his agonized screams).
  • We see Colette with a black eye and bruises (indicating that Quincy has beaten her), as well as blood on her knuckles and a bloody lip.
  • We see a flashback to a scene where a couple has stopped in a stranger's house to ask for directions. The man asks to use the bathroom, while the strange men in the house unnerve the woman. Suddenly, masked men burst into the house, and shoot and kill the other men, with the woman hiding while her husband is hit and wounded by the gunfire in the bathroom. The woman then accidentally makes a noise that alerts the killers who then come looking for her. As the husband watches from a hole through the wall/door in the bathroom and is powerless to help, we see the killer's gun go up against the woman's head (and the husband sees her being shot, but we don't, although we see her lying bloody and mortally wounded).
  • In a flashback, Danny purposefully crashes into the back of a parked police vehicle.
  • After a man walks up to shoot him, Danny ducks out of the way (causing another person to be shot) and then shoots various people (presumably dead) in Pooh-Bear's place, including Pooh-Bear who he gets in the leg (that then is briefly on fire).
  • Pooh-Bear shoots Danny several times, causing him to fall to the floor (but we then see that he was wearing a bulletproof vest).
  • A man shoots another man in the back of the head, killing him.
  • A man shoots and kills one man (in the head) and shoots and injures another (in the shoulder). He then shoots that man in the leg, and threatens to shoot him again and holds his gun to his head. The injured man then slowly and secretly reaches for a knife that he uses to stab the first man and the two then struggle. The injured man then holds his gun on the first man.
  • We see some quick flashbacks of people being shot.
  • A man jabs a syringe into another man's neck, severely injuring him. After holding another gun to his own head, he then repeatedly shoots that man on the floor (we don't see the impact).
  • A man shoots and wounds another man (in the gut) and then sets his apartment on fire.



  • Reviewed April 18, 2002 / Posted May 17, 2002

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