If Quentin Tarantino had collaborated with Nicholas Sparks to write "True Romance" and then had someone like Lasse Hallstr├Âm or Nick Cassavetes direct it he would have ended up with "Love Lies Bleeding". That means that whilst we have a couple on the run from a psychotic DEA officer after missing dirty money it has toned down violence and appealing characters in sweet, slushy lover rather than quirky ones. But that isn't what is wrong with "Love Lies Bleeding" because as such it works all but for the crowd who like appealing stars and sweet romance, but it is the fact that a lot of stupid things happen in the movie which makes it a struggle for those who watch because of the action.
Duke (Brian Geraghty - Know Who Killed Me) and Amber (Jenna Dewan-Tatum - Take the Lead) are in love but they are struggling, she works as a check-out girl whilst he, having served time for assault, struggles to find work as a casual labour and with the local Mexican gang victimizing them they cannot get a break. That is until Duke has enough and when he goes to confront the gang over the latest abuse finds them dead and a bag full of money. Taking the money and heading on the road he hopes that he and Amber can make the life they always dreamed about but they don't bank on corrupt DEA agent Pollen (Christian Slater - Hollow Man II) hunting them down and not stopping till he gets the dirty money and kills them.
So as you can guess from my mention of "True Romance" we have an unoriginal storyline with two people in love on the run from bad guys and with Christian Slater cast, this time in the role of the psychotic bad guy, it is all the more reminiscent of Tarantino's modern classic. But that in truth is where the comparisons stop because as I also mentioned "Love Lies Bleeding" has more than touch of Nicholas Sparks about it with a very appealing and frankly ordinary couple in love on the run. I could go further because there are numerous Sparks like scenes when it comes to the romance between them and without giving specifics away a Sparks' style ending. But these are interspersed with toned down action most notably Pollen threatening a naked man in a deep freeze with a meat cleaver. It's not great writing but in a way it works in a friendlier sort of way to Tarantino's movie.
But the trouble is that whilst on the run Duke and Amber do a list of stupid things from buying a very noticeable car to trying to cut deals that they can't back up. At times it becomes quite laughable due to the stupidity of their actions but then the stupidity also extends to others including Pollen and also some suspicious cops. It is what really lets the movie down because if only more thought had been taken to make the actions more feasible it would have worked.
Now I have already mentioned what to me feels like the Sparks' influence and none more so in the central casting of Brian Geraghty and Jenna Dewan-Tatum as Duke and Amber because they are visually appealing as a couple. Get beyond the visual appeal and Jenna Dewan-Tatum impresses as Amber even though she does some unbelievable things but unfortunately Geraghty spends the entire movie stone faced and emotionless which doesn't work. What works a little better is Christian Slater as Pollen especially during those moments of psychotic behaviour such as the meat cleaver scene but again the character has problems and Slater has some dumb ass stuff to do which doesn't make sense.
What this all boils down to is that if you like Nicholas Sparks' movies but wished they had more action "Love Lies Bleeding" is the movie for you. But if you plan to watch this because of the similar storyline to "True Romance" you are going to end up disappointed because of the countless moments of stupidity in the script.