In yet another crime-ridden, violence-filled movie about organized crime, FLIPPING focuses on a frustrated gambling collection crew, who are abused and bullied by their boss Leo Richards (Keith David) and live under constant threat of being assaulted and/or killed if they can’t collect the money. Leo thinks nothing of smashing with a golf club the hand of a crew member if things do not go smoothly.
Likewise, the crew think nothing of terrorizing and beating up their victims when they collect for Leo. Violence begets violence, and greed is not out of their vocabulary as they keep some of the profits for themselves, unknown to Leo. Their “jobs” take on new meaning when Leo gives them a new assignment to kill rival crime boss, Tony Barnett, outside his restaurant. If they do so, Leo will become the big crime king.
It is a dangerous job, but lured by the promise of money, the crew decides to take the challenge. They almost botch the job, but as Tony Barnett leaves his restaurant, he is hit by a car. Inspired by their new bravado and uncanny luck, Michael persuades the crew to kill Leo, so they can be free of his tyranny and let Michael take over as the new boss.
In the midst of all the assaulting, shooting, killing, and extortion, Officer Billy White (David Proval ) is in pursuit of Michael professionally and personally. Billy is in love with Michael who, unknown to the crew, is Billy’s informant. Billy wants to infiltrate Leo’s crime ring, but senses that Michael’s loyalty is questionable. His pursuit of Michael is double edged: he feels he is losing Michael’s love, and he suspects that Michael is keeping secrets about the crime world. Finally, Billy, deranged by love and suspicion, walks into the crew’s explosive confrontation and seals the crew’s fate.
FLIPPPING makes a dramatic attempt to create a stylized and provocative gangster drama that includes as much content on corrupt human nature as corrupt crime. On both accounts, the movie fails dismally. The scenes are overly contrived, the plots are predictable, and there are no surprises. Instead, the director has made a movie that resounds with 246 obscenities, vulgarities and profanities. Mitchell uses debauched language to punctuate almost every word, then he proceeds to dose each scenes with rampant, non-stop violence. The violence doesn’t stop there because after the gang kills their boss, they continue to mutilate him. Billy’s homosexuality spirals into a twisted, ugly obsession as he claims, “I have a right to my degeneracy.”
This movie leaves little for the viewer to watch, not only because of its sheer and superfluous violence, but also for its poor acting. Only David Proval manages to carry off his character with some credibility and pathos. The slick Leo Richards (Keith David) has stage presence, but even he is flawed. He is so intent on performing with the right menacing gestures and nuances that his character becomes self-absorbed, and he misses giving a stirring performance. FLIPPING is best avoided.
(Pa, Ho, LLL, SS, Ho, A, D, M) Pagan worldview involving the underworld with homosexual elements; 188 obscenities, 46 vulgarities & 12 profanities; gory, brutal and graphic violence with rampant shooting & killing; man smashes man’s hand with golf club, images of bloody face, man kicked repeatedly by gang & tooth pulled out, man assaulted several times, man hit by a car, cop assaults man, dead man cut into parts, & man slams another against a bar counter; homosexual males kissing & transvestites; alcohol use & drunkenness; illicit drug abuse & cigarette smoking; and, miscellaneous immorality including organized crime, extortion, lying, & gambling.
FLIPPING is another attempt to create a high drama about the underworld. It is a story about a collection crew under the tyrannical rule of their boss, crime king Leo. The crew kick, beat up, break fingers, and pull the tooth out of a victim’s mouth as they go around collecting the money owed to Leo. They feel tough and macho doing this, but they are not beyond quarreling themselves. When Leon tells them to kill a rival crime king outside his own restaurant, they realize that it is also about time they kill off Leo so that they can rule the roost. Intertwined with this mayhem is a homosexual love affair with a cop and the leader of the crew.
This film has no redeeming qualities. It is poorly scripted with a predictable plot with no surprises. It serves up the usual bunch of twisted characters who shoot, beat and torture their victims who no sense of conscience. This movie also contains over 200 foul words and has themes of murder, extortion, gambling, lying, homosexuality, and assault. This movie leaves little for the viewer to watch, not only because of its sheer and superfluous violence but also for its poor acting. FLIPPING is an amateurish attempt at a thought-provoking and stylized crime drama.