When his Mustang breaks down in Superior, Arizona, gambler Bobby Cooper (Penn) has no idea how low his luck has sunk. He picks up the lusty Grace (Lopez), or she picks up him - either way, her husband Jake (Nolte) isn't happy. In fact, he has his own proposition for the stranger. He wants his wife dead and reckons Bobby's the man for the job. He might be, too, if Grace can't make a better offer. John Ridley's script (from his book Stray Dogs) affects the tortuous contrivances of a malign and witty fate, in the manner of James M Cain, Jim Thompson, or more recently Red Rock West. But it's this affectation which kills the film. Stone directs with the same inebriated three-second attention span he adopted for Natural Born Killers, experimenting with different film gauges, stocks and speeds every other shot. To be fair, going by Ennio Morricone's spaghetti-and-meatballs score, Stone is fishing for laughs much of the time. Penn turns in a crisp, unfussy comic performance, Lopez vamps like a scorpion in heat, Nolte sustains a pretty good John Huston impression, and Thornton is mighty peculiar as the mechanic from hell.