By Christopher Null
I'm prepared to go out on a limb and deem Sticks to be the best cigar smuggling-action/drama movie of all time.
But seriously, Sticks is a good-looking movie, so well made you might not realize it's an independent production. The story sounds like Steven Seagal ought to be starring in it -- an everyday guy named Lenny (Lillo Brancato) makes his living selling illegal Cuban cigars to the rich and famous of L.A. Alas, he's soon robbed of his stash and finds himself embroiled in a mess that involves a local underground cigar club that wants Lenny dead, an FBI sting, and a plot to run guns back to Cuban freedom fighters. At the center of all this are 50 boxes of "El Mariposas," supposedly the most coveted cigar in all the world.
Brancato (The Sopranos) makes an affable unlikely hero, imbuing the otherwise straightforward adventure tale with an air of good-natured comedy. The film even gets off on a fun note as the inimitable Dick Clark shows up in a rare cameo as himself (though note the name of the producer if you're wondering how they got Clark involved in the movie).
Ultimately, the film loses its comedic edge as it starts to puff away its last few inches. The body count starts to rise and the laughs fall away... and Sticks becomes less of a smooth draw.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Saturday 3rd March 2001
Distributed by: MTI Home Video
Cast & Crew