I make no bones about it, I love Guy Pearce and have always considered him to be underrated and underappreciated. He’s a talented actor who has tackled a broad and impressive range of roles throughout his 30 year career. Sure, a handful of his movies have wildly missed their mark, but none quite as badly as his latest “Disturbing the Peace”. How he got wrangled into this sure-fire early candidate for the worst movie of 2020 is beyond me.
This small indie action flick from director York Alex Shackleton feels yanked from a different era and I don’t say that as a compliment. Everything about “Disturbing the Peace” feels outdated: the story, the dialogue, the characters. Even worse its budget restrictions are evident in practically every shot. From cringe-inducing supporting performances to production values on par with a bad high school play.
Pearce deserves credit for at least giving it his all even though he isn’t asked to do much. He plays Marshal Jim Dillon (I’m not making this up), a former Texas Ranger still haunted by an accidental shooting that left his partner paralyzed from the neck down. That was ten years ago and Marshal Dillon now serves and protects the small Kentucky town of Horse Cave with his one deputy (Michael Sirow).
One day two roughneck bikers ride into town looking mean and stirring up trouble with Catie (Kelly Greyson), the owner of the local diner and the Marshal’s uninspired love interest. Soon the rest of the gang arrives led by the hilariously named Diablo (Devon Sawa) who waxes not-so-elegantly about Pavlov’s Dog and killing townsfolk basically in the same breath. And with henchmen names like Pyro, Spider and Big Dog you know these guys mean business. They hold the entire town hostage which is surprisingly easy considering the majority of the population shrinks to about ten people in the span of one scene.
“Disturbing the Peace” is essentially a rural heist thriller minus the thrills and without a single character we can empathize with. The filmmakers make an attempt by throwing together several town locals hoping we’ll find some of them interesting. But you’ll remember them more for their excruciating line deliveries rather than anything of value they bring to the story. And you know what to expect when your second biggest cast member is Barbie Blank, aka ex-WWE wrestler Kelly Kelly (or was it Kelly Kelly Kelly). No offense to Ms. Blank, but….never mind.
None of the things that make “Disturbing the Peace” watchable are intentional. The cheap production, the cliche-riddled script, the laughably bad dialogue. Even Guy Pearce can’t make us buy some of his lines and his MacGyver-styled action is an even harder sell. He seems utterly bored throughout the entire proceedings which is completely understandable. Nothing about the movie is even remotely original and it wasn’t for the accidental hilarity it would be a tough 90 minutes to endure.
VERDICT – 1 STAR