ONE DAY AS A LION
(director/writer: John Swab; cinematographer: Will Stone; editor: Andrew Aaronson; music: David Sardy; cast: Scott Caan (Jackie Powers), J.K. Simmons (Walter Boggs), Frank Grillo (Pauly Russo), Bruce Davis (Bob), Marianne Rendón (Lola Brisky), Virginia Madsen (Valerie Brisky), George Carroll (Dom Lorenzo), Taryn Manning (Taylor Love), Dash Melrose (Billy Powers); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Jeremy M. Rosen; Lionsgate; 2023)
“A harmless crime B-film that never roars.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An OK ensemble cast almost does justice for this lame but zany thriller, a lighthearted crime drama comedy directed and written by John Swab (“Ida Red”/”Candy Land”) as a harmless crime B-film that never roars.
Hitman Jackie Powers (Scott Caan, son of James), in a Hawaiian shirt, arrives in a dead western town in Oklahoma to collect a debt or take out rancher Walter Boggs (J.K. Simmons), as ordered by mobster Pauly Russo (Frank Grillo). The crafty Boggs surprisingly makes his getaway on horseback during a shoot-out with the hitman, who proceeds to kidnap the bored coffee shop waitress Lola (Marianne Rendón) after accidentally killing her diner boss. Jackie thereby takes her hostage because he needs the contract money to hire a lawyer and get his fifteen-year-old son Billy (Dash Melrose) out of juvenile detention. Lola comes up with a scheme where they will pretend to marry in order to convince her wealthy mother Valerie (Virginia Madsen), whose money was inherited from the suspicious deaths of her four husbands, to now give her the inheritance she expects so she can run an acting school in Costa Rica.
Pauly is pissed his henchman Dom (George Carroll) chose the incompetent Jackie for the job. Dom is pissed at Jackie, his old pal from their prison time in juvenile detention, for fucking up the hit. We also note that Dom has a soft spot for Jackie, as he’s been screwing Jackie’s ex Taylor (Taryn Manning), who is Billy’s mom.
It’s a mild diversion that might work enough for the casual viewer who loves offbeat crime B-films even if flawed.
REVIEWED ON 4/17/2023 GRADE: C+