★ ★ ★
As the title “Lowlife” would suggest, the debut film from Ryan Prows, is down ‘n dirty. A Los Angeles set b-movie that features a rage-a-holic Mexican wrestler, organ harvesting and upsetting facial tattoos, it’s audacious grindhouse fare that would make Tarantino blush.
Borrowing an over-lapping, broken timeline featured in every crime movie in the 1990s after “Pulp Fiction,” “Lowlife” tires together the lives of four lives touched by ruthless crime boss Teddy "Bear" Haynes (Mark Burnham). Teddy has his fingers in all kinds of unpleasantness, including human trafficking and the sale of human organs.
Mixing-and-matching stories are luchador El Monstruo (Ricardo Adam Zarate), a hair-trigger tempered former wrestler with aspirations to be a legendary hero but pays the bills as Teddy’s henchman.
Then there’s Keith (Shaye Ogbanna) and his unfortunately tattooed friend Randy (Jon Oswald) who get talked into one of Teddy’s kidnapping schemes and motel owner Crystal, who needs a kidney for her alcoholic husband.
“Lowlife” is as seedy as its surroundings. Made with verve by Prows, it’s a bloody, dark comedy that wears its b-movie roots on its sleeve. By times unpleasant, by times politically incorrect—“Not cool calling me a Nazi,” says the ex-con with a giant swastika tattooed on his face. “You don’t know my struggle.”—by times heartfelt yet derivative, the movie is a fun, violent watch.