Directed by: Scott Wiper
Starring: Scott Wiper, Natasha Henstridge, Wayne Duvall, B'Nard Lewis, Carmen Argenziano, Joe Pantoliano, and Lou Diamond Phillips
"Some things are worth living for..."
Boomer (Wiper) is a young Chicago cop that gets mixed up in a war between federal agents, such as Dexter (Phillips), and shady gangsters and criminals, such as Cleveland (Braugher) who want a special computer chip. Apparently this chip contains sensitive information that leads all the way to the top. So Boomer ends up on a road trip of sorts, dodging dangers at every turn, and meeting wacky characters such as Flash (Pantoliano, not Jeff Kutash). All he wants to do is propose to his beautiful girlfriend Kelly (which is probably a decent idea considering it is puzzling why a woman of this caliber is with this dork in the first place)...but, as they say, life has other plans...
It seems, since the 2000’s, the term “Direct to Video” is synonymous with this type of production - a not-quite-movie-theater-quality, run of the mill, post-Tarantino crime thriller that relies more on cursing in the dialogue than on good ideas. This is a shame, DTV used to encompass all sorts of things, not the least of which was punchfighting movies. But, alas, this relatively new form of entertainment has paved the way for such personalities as Scott Wiper, a man whose career would not exist were it not for the miracle of DTV productions.
Despite the good cast, don’t be fooled. This is some sort of vanity project for the aforementioned Mr. Wiper. Just because he wrote The Last Marshal (1999), now he feels he’s entitled to write, direct and star in his own project, leaving the real stars in the background. Well, you’re no Scott Glenn, sir. (Note snarky attitude). Lou Diamond Phillips and Wiper should have switched roles. But we’re left with the unlikable (or unWipable) Wiper, who appears to be some sort of irritating cross between Edward Burns and Ben Affleck.
At the outset, it appears we’re in for a low-budget, gritty crime drama that’s at least striving for some measure of quality. Sadly, the “irony” sets in and we realize we’re in sub-Boondock Saints (1999) territory once again. Of course, why that movie has a gigantic following and was even re-released back into the theaters (an unheard-of move) while A Better Way to Die and its ilk are unnoticed by these same “fanatics” is unknown.
This movie is not impressive, although the (unfortunately) supporting cast tries their best. Henstridge has never looked better, but that’s not nearly enough to save this dud. Regrettably, a Better Way to Die is a waste of the talents of LDP, Braugher, Pantoliano, Henstridge and Sweet Lou (B’Nard Lewis). Avoid.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty