By Doug Brunell | October 17, 2010

Two radically different stories come together in this action/romance/comedy from Christian Sesma, and while you will be surprised by a few things, the overall effect is jarring and thoroughly unbelievable. It is not, however, a film to be easily dismissed.

Jason Mewes and Samantha Lockwood play a bickering couple shopping for wedding rings. An after-hours heist gone bad changes their lives forever. Nic Nac and Mike Hatton are The Smith Brothers, two dudes lost in the desert who come across a mercenary training exercise. Crazy Joe (Danny Trejo) is a crime lord who brings these two groups together, and he has is own problems. Someone has obviously been studying Tarantino.

If there is any reason to recommend this film, it is to see Jason Mewes step outside the Jay box and play a self-doubting, eager-to-please young man who is trying to grow up. Yes, his character is still suffering from stunted maturity, but here is Jay if he quit selling drugs, quit hanging out with Silent Bob, and got a job on his own. Mewes is well-suited for the role, and it is an absolute pleasure to see him branch out. As if Mewes wasn’t enough, there is the witty banter that makes up the bulk of the film’s dialogue. Unfortunately, it is mostly out of place here.

The Tarantino influence is in full effect with the dialogue, but that director knows when to change course with what his characters are saying. Witness the final diner scene in Pulp Fiction. Sesma is trying to be funny and believable, but his dialogue betrays him in the worst way, and it betrays his characters.

The film stretches credibility almost its entire running time. There are scenes which will have you shaking your head in disbelief. (A shoot-out in a jewelry store with automatic weapons where one hostage has escaped and the police never arrive?) But, and here is the only thing that really saves Shoot the Hero!, you start to care about and get interested in these characters.

The Smith Brothers. The young couple. You get attached to them. You don’t believe any of these people but Nate (Mewes) could exist in real life, but it’s still fun watching them nonetheless. Had this movie played out more realistically, it would be stylized enough to probably win it a fair amount of well-deserved praise. Unfortunately, when you spend a majority of the time thinking to yourself that what you are seeing on screen would never happen, you can’t help but ultimately realize it is a lost opportunity … though a slightly guilty pleasure nonetheless.

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