Molloy (Ray Liotta) has turned his life around. He used to drink and do drugs endlessly, and commit armed robbery with his friend and partner Yates (Dominic Purcell; Prison Break). In the three years since Yates was sent to prison, and Molloy subsequently hit rock bottom, he has managed to get sober, get a real job, and get a beautiful girlfriend (Vanessa Gray) who he loves. Everything seems to be going well until Yates gets out of prison and tracks him down. Before Molloy can blink he’s the unwitting accessory to a convenience store robbery, as Yates takes his first steps to ruin Molloy’s life.
You’ve probably seen movies like this a hundred times before. Stories about ex-cons who have tried to turn their life around but are somehow sucked back into that life are plentiful. I guess what makes Bad Karma unique is that Molloy is never tempted to go back to his old ways. He’s being set up, and Yates manages to convince others that he and Molloy are working together, but Molloy has reformed, and is committed to his new life. So, Ray Liotta’s performance here keeps the film fresh and interesting. On the other hand, Dominic Purcell’s motivations are less clear. He claims that he blames Molloy for his being sent away to prison, but that gives him roughly the same characterization as a six year old. It’s incredibly uninteresting to see a character completely incapable of taking responsibility for his own actions. It’s not like Molloy framed Yates to get him sent away in the first place..
In a fairly small role, Vanessa Gray plays Molloy’s live-in girlfriend, Kelly. The relationship between the two characters is really effective, and we get to see a softer side to Ray Liotta, which is rarely caught on screen. Of course, Yates’ presence in the film tries this relationship, pushing it to a breaking point, where Molloy is forced to confess his entire past in an attempt to keep the life he’s built from falling apart. It’s really interesting to watch these two characters grow closer together and further apart over the course of the film. It is definitely the emotional center of this film, and gives the audience something to really connect to here.
Overall, Bad Karma is not a great film. It’s very average actually. However, it’s trying to do something unique, and Liotta and Gray offer up a couple of strong performances. If you tend to like these little crime thrillers, then you’ll probably enjoy this one too.
No special features on the dvd. Just Spanish subtitles.
Available now on DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment.