In the desert outpost of Needles, California, two pathetic, near-bankrupt used-car salesmen (writer/editor/ director/producer Joe Carnahan and producer Dan Leis) are offered a quarter of a million bucks just to hide a 1963 Pontiac LeMans for two days ... without looking in the trunk. They know the deal stinks, and there must be a dangerous catch, but they're desperate, so they take it. Indeed the car might be connected to some strange murders, South American plots, even ugly events involving an Ecuadorian tribe. Carnahan and Leis shot most of Blood Guts Bullets & Octane for spare change ($7300 is the official number) and then took it to film markets to raise more money for proper postproduction. Although no one is likely to mistake the final product for a major-studio release (it's a Short Fuse Films production), the movie provides more enjoyment than most films costing a thousand times as much. There are one or two amateurish performances, and the plot is ultimately a little too tricky for its own good, but the writing, performing, and directing are solid enough that you come away with the feeling that someone should risk dumping a real budget on Carnahan and giving him a free hand.
-- Andy Klein