For a movie made for just $80,000, “Loaded” looks pretty good—not studio quality, to be sure, but solid indie stuff visually. It certainly makes a good case for the technique being developed in the film program at Chapman University in Orange, California, where Erick Gosse—who was one of the picture’s producers, as well as co-writer and co-star—found a good deal of the behind-the-scenes talent who worked on the project (including director Ryan Parrott).
In terms of plot, on the other hand, the movie, about the complicated crosses and double-crosses among the members of Orange County’s drug gangs, local cops and federal agents, is pretty conventional DVD-movie fodder. It begins with a harrowing, well-directed sequence about a young boy witnessing his junkie mother’s murder at the hands of a brutal dealer, but then morphs into a convoluted but surprisingly conventional tale of double-dealing and vengeance. It’s less Martin Scorsese than Joe Carnahan, whose “Narc” Gosse mentioned in a recent Dallas interview as one of the genre pieces he especially admired.
But though it’s hobbled by some corny writing and weak performances (not including those of Thomas Tamburello and Joel Bryant, who are actually fairly good as the two gang lieutenants vying for position of heir-apparent to the kingpin’s throne), “Loaded” is not without promise. It may serve as a springboard for some of its cast and crew to go on to bigger—and better—things.