And no one … is gonna be safe.

Every so often, a movie comes along that is so astound­ingly inept that you can­not help but be wowed and enthralled by its incom­pe­tence. Ladies and gen­tle­men, this is one of those movies.

Blind In the Kingdom of the Blind, the Man With One Eye Is King (1995): Oh. My. God. I hope William Petersen was paid a tril­lion dol­lars to be in this movie, oth­er­wise he got ripped off. Anyway, I was like “oh hey” when I saw this in the cable guide because I knew it was one of those Petersen deep cuts that I would have no chance of see­ing or both­er­ing to see with­out stum­bling upon it by chance. I would call this the Cobra of crappy Reservoir Dogs ripoffs, but it is unde­serv­ing of such praise.

This is sup­posed to be a New York mob movie, I guess, which totally explains why peo­ple are rid­ing the L.A. Metro, and also why gang­sters are seen hang­ing out in caves. It starts out with Michael Biehn, an appar­ent “Westie,” tor­tur­ing some dude in a cave and then cru­ci­fy­ing him. Yes. On a cross. When your mafia movie touch­stone is Duke Mitchell’s The Executioner, you are in for a bad time. We know Michael Biehn is a “Westie” because he’s all, like, “Why did you go to [obvi­ous Italian gang­ster name] when you could have come to me, Jackie Ryan, who would give you any­thing you ask for?” Anyway, it’s that whole deal where the guy is spout­ing all philo­soph­i­cal reli­gious­ness like “peo­ple who think they are God should know that no man can be God!” for 10 min­utes before he kills a guy. THINK ABOUT IT.

And then the screen goes black, ooh. And we never see any of those char­ac­ters again!

Next we meet our hero, Al. Al is an Italian cop. We know this because when he is greeted by his wife, she calls him “Detective Scarpelli” or what­ever. Al is a doughy douchebag with a thin­ning mul­let who looks like a really fat Joe Flaherty. (Apologies to the real Joe Flaherty, whom I actu­ally con­sider to be kind of hot.) Al comes home to his grand estate filled with roses and a zil­lion lit can­dles because you know us bitches don’t have any­thing bet­ter to do with our time. He finds a note from his daugh­ters that reads “Have fun, Daddy!” in crayon. I just threw up in my mouth a lit­tle. His daugh­ters are his lit­tle angels. We know this because there are pic­tures of his daugh­ters and Botticelli cherubs every­where. Because they’re ITALIAN. The zil­lions of can­dles lead Al out to his enor­mous swim­ming pool, where we meet his impos­si­bly hot wife, Stephanie Seymour, who is played by Hope from “Days” before she turned into Skeletor. She’s in a swim­ming suit and starts mak­ing out with him.

At this point, I spec­u­late the man play­ing Al (see pic­ture above) must have also writ­ten and directed this movie. Did you guess that too? Yes! And hey, you know some­thing? We’re absolutely right! We’re so smart. If we’re so smart, then why are we watch­ing this? I don’t know, I’m just mesmerized.

Also, please note that the fat dude who lives in the grand estate with a giant swim­ming pool and an impos­si­bly hot wife is a cop and he lives in New Jersey. Check.

Now things begin to get foggy as I sink deeper into hyp­no­sis. There’s a strip club called “The Classy Lady” and a bunch of leather-​jacketed toughs who all appear to have been mem­bers of The Blackhearts at one time or another. We learn that one of them is in love with a strip­per and wants her to stop liv­ing that life because even though he’s tough, he feels. But she’s too hard, man, too hard to be a happy wife with kids and a white picket fence and dammit, why can’t he accept that! And the guy gets enraged and starts a fight with about eight other peo­ple and gets tossed out of The Classy Lady, yet his sun­glasses remain firmly on his face the entire time. This is the magic of Hollywood.

And then … the screen goes black. And we never see any of THOSE peo­ple again, except for our main three Blackhearts, one of whom is wear­ing a black leather trench­coat that is ripped straight from the pages of International Male. And they ride the L.A. Metro to an unknown des­ti­na­tion in Manhattanish or Brooklynesque.

Next we are on one of those typ­i­cal street­corners where Black People hang out, com­plete with an ash­can full of burn­ing trash and a fake Boyz II Men singing fake a cap­pella R&B:

Young at Hea-​art
Young at Heart is comin’
Young at Hea-​art
Young at Heart is comin’ —
Comin’ to you
Young at Heart is comin’
Young at Hea-​art
Young at Heart is comin’

I’m not even exag­ger­at­ing, that is a lit­eral tran­scrip­tion and I don’t think I will ever for­get that song, ever.

Then a limo pulls up and it’s pimp Paul Winfield as Mr. Bigg. He says the “n” word so you know he’s street. He’s got a phone in the the limo that basi­cally looks like some­one bor­rowed their office con­sole for the day and propped it up in the back win­dow. I’m obsessed with it. He sends one of the young street­corner dudes to give a mes­sage to the Italians. Don’t worry about the details, because William Petersen will kill the guy in about five min­utes. And then … wait for it … the screen goes BLACK. (That’s racist!) And we NEVER see PAUL WINFIELD … or our new favorite R&B super­group YOUNG AT HEART … AGAIN!

OK, I know this is a lot to take in. Are you with me? So like, all of this stuff, you don’t know how any of it relates to the other stuff, and it really doesn’t, because, as I pointed out, you will more or less never see any of these peo­ple … AGAIN! But instead of being like, “I am intrigued to dis­cover how all these char­ac­ters relate to one another,” you just sim­ply don’t care because, in fact, pretty much none of these char­ac­ters relate to one another.

Now, all that up there? That’s about as com­plex as the story gets, because after this, almost noth­ing hap­pens. Essentially The Blackhearts killed an impor­tant mob guy, and William Petersen is angry about it, and some­how he knows that one of The Blackhearts is Al’s brother. Meanwhile, William Petersen and Al have some kind of “past” involv­ing “police cor­rup­tion” and “deal­ings” and “tapes of evi­dence” and “money”. So William Petersen decides to send Al to take care of The Blackhearts as revenge for them killing the mob guy, some­how, because … per­haps some­one, some­where, thought this would be poetic and meaningful.

I’m dis­ap­pointed we never get to see this impor­tant mob guy who gets killed, by the way. At least that cameo appear­ance would be endemic to the plot. Certainly Ben Gazzara didn’t have any­thing bet­ter to do back then.

Oh! And there’s some great great dia­logue in this movie, like when Al and Hope from “Days” are talk­ing about all that crappy stuff women like to talk about, like their rela­tion­ship and com­mu­ni­ca­tion and feel­ings, there is a beau­ti­ful moment:

Al: You’re upset. Here, have some more ice cream.
Hope: I don’t want more ice cream! [pause, pause, pause]
Me: I want you.
Hope: [pause, pause] I want you.

Then, when William Petersen brings Al into his office (is that a pic­ture of Mussolini on the wall?), they get a bot­tle of Johnnie Walker Red and pro­ceed to pour what is obvi­ously flat cola. It is dark brown, peo­ple. Petersen makes awe­some hammy faces while he’s drink­ing it, too. He’s a bril­liant pro­fes­sional. Anyway, he flies into a rage about what’s going to hap­pen when word gets out that the impor­tant mob guy got killed, right? And this is basi­cally a reprise of some­thing he’s already said ear­lier, but with a spe­cial twist at the end:

Petersen: When [who­ever] finds out his brother is dead, peo­ple are gonna start get­ting killed! And no one[pause, pause]
Me: … is gonna be safe.
Petersen: [pause] … is gonna be safe!

I love William Petersen.

So now the rest of the movie, which goes on for at least another hour, is one long fake Reservoir Dogs com­plete with guys in match­ing out­fits fight­ing in a ware­house after pulling a job and oh it went wrong and whose fault is it and Mexican stand­offs and “I’m scared” and hand­cuff­ings to chairs and beat­ings and insight­ful exchanges between characters:

Blackheart 1: It’s like a guy’s dream t’walk inna strip club and have a strip­per fall in love with him.
Blackheart 2: Yeah, but for me, that dream … [pause]
Me: … turned int—
Blackheart 2: … turned into a night­mare!

Once Al shows up at the ware­house to con­front The Blackhearts, we get some more insight into why this movie was made in the first place, because all the guys, who are all young and rea­son­ably good look­ing (for Blackhearts that is) and not fat old douchebags with thin­ning hair, get tied to chairs to “con­fess” their crimes, but instead they spend the whole time con­fess­ing the sin of envy because oh, they’ve all been so jeal­ous of Al because Al is so great! All the teach­ers loved him in school! He’s got a hot wife and a great job and a mil­lion friends! He’s so smart! Mom liked Al best! He was the cap­tain of the foot­ball team and every­one thinks he’s #1! If only … oh, if only peo­ple could have felt that way about us, The Blackhearts, but no, we were always trapped in the shadow of Al’s awesomeness!

I swear, that is the entire rest of the movie, is these guys falling over them­selves to praise the great­ness of Al and how much they wish they were him and how their lives were ruined because they were not Al, the best guy in the world. I’m not even exag­ger­at­ing. Then Al kills every­one and dies. The end.

TmykIncidentally, I think the real quote is “In the vil­lage of the blind, the man with one eye is king,” ’cause, like, if it was a king­dom of the blind, then the king would be blind too, right? Or hmm, maybe that was inten­tional. THINK ABOUT IT.

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