Two firemen (Bill Paxton and William Sadler) from rural Arkansas head for an abandoned building in East Saint Louis after hearing about a hoard of buried treasure, only to find themselves unwitting witnesses to a murder committed by a local mob (including Ice-T and Ice Cube). Walter Hill directed this economical action thriller from a script by executive producers Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis. Like Hill, Gale and Zemeckis show much more aptitude for warming over old genre movesthey’re especially good here in honoring the Aristotelian ground rules for place and timethan for detailed social observation, and the movie is ultimately limited by a schematic conception of most of the characters. (The major exception to this is a homeless squatter played by Art Evans, who in more ways than one walks off with the picture.) Otherwise, resourceful use is made of the decor (production design Jon Hutman), the spare and jangling music score (by Ry Cooder), and the secondary cast (including De’Voreaux White, Bruce A. Young, and Glenn Plummer) (1992). (JR)

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