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Rating: 3.7/5 (40 votes cast)

Russian Cross

Caleb Kaplan is a bullied high school loner who befriends the mysterious new Russian student in school. He soon finds out that he has inadvertently been sucked into his new friend’s Russian gang that commit crimes and kill people. When Caleb tries to get out, the gang attacks him and his family. Caleb will do anything it takes to protect his family from his former Russian ‘family.’

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  1. March 19, 2013, 6:10 pm
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    It’s not a terrible read, but its not a fascinating read neither.

    I would consider this as a good first draft from which you can take a look at what works and expand on it.

    I suggest re-examining Cal for he is your main character- and from which the story flows from him- Character produces story.

    He isn’t active until he finally decides to take matters into his own hands by which he contacts Xavier and they go to Nick’s home. Now I’m suddenly invested in Cal—but it’s too late in the story.

    Perhaps this, being that Cal is for once in the story aggressive, should you start your story?

    Lets say in the ending, Inna did actually leave, with the “russian cross” and somehow down the line get in some sort of trouble with another gang, and now Cal must go and rescue her and get the cross back from her as he said, that some day she would give it back to him.

    This would be a beautiful opening for your story…

    something along this line my friend, will automatically draw a mysterious, yet engaging interesting moment for your Cal, for now he must go and rescue this girl whom he lent his cross too, and in a simple yet effective way it flows beautifully with the title RUSSIAN CROSS.

    Just a suggestion or something to perhaps consider….

    Anyhow good luck!

    Ron

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    jeziers2 says
    February 24, 2013, 3:32 pm
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    It is a good idea, but needs to be revised. Character development could have been better. You need to try to make it more interesting. I wouldn’t want to watch this movie. Concept could become better, you really need to put yourself in the readers shoes. What would make your movie “attractive.” Not only to you, but to other people as well.

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    lex86 says
    February 20, 2013, 11:09 am
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    Unfortunately, I also have to agree with ward parry’s analysis. It took me ages to get through this script because it wasn’t exactly riveting. I basically had to make myself read it. You could always vamp it up using more characterization, improving the dialogue etc, but my best advice would be just aim to make it a bit more interesting.

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    G-rad says
    February 1, 2013, 10:43 am
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    Couldn’t get into it.

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    Krang says
    February 1, 2013, 1:42 am
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    W00T

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    nutty says
    January 31, 2013, 8:47 pm
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    Hats off to you brianthelion. You’re a funny guy that’s for sure.

    Wardparry couldn’t have said it better in terms of what I thought.

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    ikadana says
    January 31, 2013, 8:42 pm
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    One of the slowest scripts I have read for a long time.just another gangster movie. I feel i seen stuff like that around and don’t see any reason why this should be made into a movie.
    seems like the writer didn’t put any time into this script!

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  8. wardparry says
    January 31, 2013, 4:31 pm
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    You can write dialogue for sure. The rest was pretty average. Un-engaging, and just a little over-used as a style. That said, probably garner some industry traction tonally. Best of luck in the competition. WP

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    • January 31, 2013, 5:07 pm

      Thanks for the review and for reading my script. What was your favorite part?

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      • wardparry says
        January 31, 2013, 7:51 pm

        Well, as I say, I thought it a very average read. So I didn’t have any favourite parts. But, if you’d like me to highlight what I thought was particularly poor, sure;

        – the relationship you set up are done so with clumsy exposition. You leave nothing for the reader. Samantha and Cal for example, the “I should never have left you” is so cliche, and it sets their tone. Letting these characters stumble around looking for words to fill in the discomfort of the reunion would be so much more interesting.

        – Same with Cal and Anthony. Their relationship lacks any subtlety and depth. As I previously said, you can write dialogue and that at least allows the early scenes between Cal and Anthony at least move swiftly. But then you miss the opportunity to really layer the relationship with the stuff about Cal’s dad. Instead you rattle through the exposition.

        – the weed scene just feels like a waste – yeah, we get it, he comes from the wrong side. But these cats just read so cliched…

        – Throughout you overdo the expositional dialogue. If you want the reader to see it, show it. Don’t show it and have the character say it at the same time.

        – You really struggle with structure, Cal’s journey is shaped poorly with little to incite the transformation. So he gets pushed around by Josh. Big deal. How does that make him feel. Samantha’s rejection. Rejection is a powerful motivator but you give it no shape, and the ultimate stakes just seem a bit passe. Missed opportunity.

        Do you want me to go on? Or were you just trying to catch me out? I’ve read your script, man. Fear not. My advice, read Juno, and see how Diablo Cody writes this age group and develops characters through dialogue.

        Best of luck in the competition. WP

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    malakas says
    January 31, 2013, 4:13 pm
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    Great concept built on a compelling story line. IMO Russian Mafia plot lines are vastly under-represented in the over all popular mafia genre. It also harnesses the relatable element of “once you try to get out, they keep pulling you back in” as well as highlighting how easy, if not almost innocently, some cross over into gang/mafia lifestyle in the first place. Any time you can capture the “by the grace of God go I” dynamic it really makes a story, from all sides, far more relatable. I could absolutely see this being made!

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    • January 31, 2013, 4:16 pm

      Wow thank you so much for the kind words. Its nice to know someone in the same category as me who is my competition will give me a fair review. Thank you! Cheers!

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    bsouls4 says
    January 31, 2013, 11:59 am
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    The script started off okay, but after half way through it kind of fell apart for me. There was just to many things that would happen where I would be asking, “why? Why would this character want to do that, it doesn’t make any sense.” I don’t really understand why Anthony anted to be Cal’s friend so bad, especially if he was looking for someone to rob stores with. You would think Anthony would rather be friends with Josh because Josh would seem more likely to be okay with stealing than Cal would. And then Anthony keeps talking about how much he likes Cal as a friend and then all of a sudden is ready to kill him. It also didn’t really make much sense to me as to why the Russians brought Josh into the whole thing.
    Also, there was nothing early in the script that showed that Cal could do any kind of fighting, if anything it showed that he can’t fight at all, but then he had no problem with taking on 2 bullies and beating them up and fighting at the end. And I don’t know if someone who wasn’t trained could just snap someone’s neck like that. Speaking of the end, you set up a great thing with the threat of Cal’s stiches popping if he moves around too much, but you never reference it at all during the final scenes, except when Xavier cuts one of the stiches. Another missed opportunity I thought was after the hospital when the Russians where taken Josh and Josh escapes from the police, I don’t know why the Russians just wouldn’t go to Josh’s house later and kill him. I mean, he wasn’t going to tell the cops, we already knew Josh’s parents where away on vacation so there would be no witness’s, and Anthony knows where Josh lives, but instead we basically just flash forward 3 weeks and nothing has happened.
    I noticed for some of the sluglines you had INT/EXT at the same time, but you can’t be inside the car and outside of it at the same time. I think what you would want to do is just put INT. CAL’S CAR and then in the action put Cal is parked outside Anthony’s house.
    I like the idea for this story, but I think it still needs some work.

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    • January 31, 2013, 2:56 pm

      Thats how a script is SUPPOSED to be written if you are inside a car. You have to write both Int/Ext to show you are in a car but outside somewhere. If you took screenwriting classes youd know that. It’s written correctly, to only write Int or Ext and Cals Car would be wrong.

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    says
    January 31, 2013, 11:32 am
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    Wasn’t for me.

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  12. January 31, 2013, 4:57 am
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    amazing

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    bobsaget says
    January 31, 2013, 3:51 am
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    I’m Bob Saget and I approve of Russian Cross. Those who do not, are not Bob Saget.

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  14. January 31, 2013, 3:23 am
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    :)

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    yoyo says
    January 30, 2013, 11:25 pm

    Characters didn’t feel real enough in terms of drive and motivations. Some moments left me stumped and took me out of the story. It’s clear the writer put a lot of work into this but it doesn’t feel as polished as it should be. I just didn’t care enough about what happens. Perhaps it needs more mystery and suspense to keep an audience’s interest. It’s a love story in essence between these two friends but I didn’t feel much for their relationship nor the love story with the woman. What does he see that’s redeeming about her in any way?

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    Isab says
    January 30, 2013, 10:22 pm
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    The writer has talent & the story had the potential to develop into a thriller of a script. However, I believe he lost the plot and the tale dissolved into being just another gangster gun toting yawn.

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    granix says
    January 30, 2013, 8:50 pm
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    Ratings

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    yoyo says
    January 29, 2013, 8:27 pm

    sorry, not my kind of flick…

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    granix says
    January 29, 2013, 7:50 pm

    dunno why my ratings aren’t showing up…

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  20. WalkingZZZ says
    January 27, 2013, 8:09 pm
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    SSSensational.

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    GymkataFan says
    January 25, 2013, 2:42 pm
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    Very good but could use more character development.

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    • January 26, 2013, 4:26 am

      what would you suggest as far as more character development? what specifically?

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    says
    January 25, 2013, 4:47 am
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    I love this. It has a great story to it and fantastic characters. The dialogue is great and it moves the story forward throughout the screenplay.
    I love anything to do with bullies becoming the victim so this got me more interested in it. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your work.

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  23. January 24, 2013, 2:01 am
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    I can really see this as being a movie. I enjoyed this so much. Very plausible story with perfect pacing. The writer doesn’t leave you unsatisfied.

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    granix says
    January 15, 2013, 10:35 pm

    cool concept. love the main character but i feel it needs to be more developed. maybe more unique dialog needed? I def see where your going with it but needs another pass or two. keep writing!

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    • January 16, 2013, 2:25 am

      thank you for the time in reading it and for the helpful tips. cheers!

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  25. recluse says
    January 14, 2013, 8:41 am
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    NEEDS TO BE SMOOTH – AND FAST PACED – BUT GREAT IDEA

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    • January 15, 2013, 4:51 am

      any suggestions to make it faster paced? i was kinda going for the more slow burning-but enticing route, but im open to new ideas. any suggestions or tips? :)

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  26. ssabatino says
    December 31, 2012, 4:16 pm
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    What I perceive here is a missed opportunity. Whenever “ethnic” characters are used in a story, they add a flavor and richness to a scene. I have to keep reminding myself these are Russian nationals. I shouldn’t have to. Go back and do some research. Take the time to create authentic dialect. Put Russian syntax in the English sentence. That might help the flat dialogue. As I read your script, any one of your characters could conceivably speak anyone else’s lines. There are no distinctive “voices” among these young men. You might make Anthony sulky and dark. He’s not very interesting as is – maybe have him speak broken English. Character development is not easy. You need to work on it. As for the concept, I am not sold on why these apparently street-smart hoods would put so much at stake on this pansy kid, Cal. The idea (page 60) that Cal can “control” them with his knowledge is ridiculous. Nick can just stab him in the stomach, as he did to Xavier at the mall. (If I can come to that conclusion, so then can the audience.) Also, the girlfriend doesn’t work in the story. I can’t see Cal as being the object of any girl’s attraction. Again, character development…
    Stay with this. It will take a few more drafts, but it can become a well written piece.

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    • December 31, 2012, 7:45 pm

      I looked at your page, and you seem like a very angry individual. You trash everyone else’s scripts and have nothing good to say about anyones. It’s very easy to be critical of other people’s work when you are jealous of theirs or feel threatened by competition. Trying to trash theirs as low as you can so yours seems the best. I’m sorry your work isn’t the masterpiece you thought it was when you entered it in this contest. There is always one person like you who craps on EVERYTHING because you think you are an expert and want people to hold your opinion high. I read your script and it’s very obvious this is your first script and you are not very well-trained in screenwriting. You shouldn’t think you are high and mighty because you’ve written a script. You obviously have never made a feature film before or written a full screenplay before this contest because writers who have been around the block like I have know that in scripts, for foreign characters or characters with accents you don’t write the way people talk – that’s left for the actors to bring to the table, which is why they are professional actors. And as for doing research, I have spent my whole life around Russians, and I speak fluent Russian. I know a lot more about their language and culture than you do, and I have had Russians, both friends and complete strangers read this and say it was spot on. There are little things in many scenes that are very Russian or have Russian characteristics, from the way one holds their cigarette to the way one fights. You don’t even know how much Russian influence is in this script, so maybe you should do some research and you’ll see it. You seem like a very immature amateur with a chip on your shoulder because you wrote your first script. Maybe you should get some more (good) work under your belt before you go around ripping on other writer’s work to try to make your work look perfect (because, like I said, I read your script, and it’s nowhere near good). You are fault-finding on everyone elses work because you are either A) Jealous of their work being better than yours, B) upset your script is receiving such mediocre reviews or C) Your script isn’t in the top 5. I’m sorry you’re so angry and upset, but deal with it. Life will beat you up if you continue to trash other writer’s so harshly just to make yourself seem smarter than everyone else. Maybe you should take a few screenwriting classes, because after reading your script, it’s obvious you’ve taken none. Grow up.

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    filmnerd74 says
    December 27, 2012, 6:13 pm
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    Nice pace and intrigue, character consistency and complexity.
    Dialogue at the beginning seemed a bit too expositional.
    Cal seemed to fall for the bait and go back to the car in the alley too easily around page 60.
    I think there needs to be more of a friendship formed between the guys at the beginning. They become besties over not much at all and nothing really proves to Anthony that Cal is worthy of joining their gang before he tries recruiting him so hard. What forms their bond and connection besides Cal just being friendly? You can either create a bigger moment when they connect or perhaps they were old childhood best friends but Anthony moved back to Russia for most of his life and now he’s back…? Or something that connects them on a deeper level….
    Overall, great job and good luck!

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    • December 30, 2012, 7:14 pm

      When we are young kids, say from 10-16/17, we are too naive and…well…stupid too know right from wrong when judging “attractive” people. We have all had that one friend growing up who we were attracted to who was dangerous, and that’s what made them cool to us. This is a true story, and believe me (not to argue) when you are a loser/loner and get harassed and bullied every day, when someone comes in and saves you, you will jump into HIGH GEAR to be their friend. Cal had nobody and Anthony had nobody, Anthony clearly explained his motive for Cal’s friendship when he said he wants a wingman badly because he wants to fit in with his peers and rob things. Cal wants Anthony’s friendship because he sees him as a protector, a bully-guard and he’s never had a lot of friends before so he jumps at the chance to be Anthony’s friend through his own desperation. This script is a lot like FEAR with Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon. When we are too young, naive and stupid to see the obvious faults in a person, we are attracted to them either socially or sexually (socially in this case with Cal and Anthony, Ha!) and Cal had nobody to tell him Anthony was bad news. This is what I went through in High School and I wanted to share it. Remember now, these are teenage kids, not full grown 40 year old adults, so Cal may not have “been around the block” as much as older people to see the signs that he’s being led to trouble or going to be ambushed in an alley. The idea that they were friends before wouldn’t work. And the event when Anthony saves Cal from Josh in the cafeteria is a big enough event to connect them. Trust me, when you are a loser and someone does that for you, you are instantly best friends. Haha. Thanks for your time and reading my script, I appreciate it and the reviews :)

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    nspringer1 says
    December 11, 2012, 4:25 am
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    Super Awesome script Brian! I love the bully’s getting what they deserve.

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    747russell says
    December 10, 2012, 3:05 am
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    Pretty dope. Would love to see it actualized on the screen.

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  30. Profile photo of garrettdemar
    December 10, 2012, 2:10 am
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    Very nice!

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    ralphi says
    December 8, 2012, 9:42 pm
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    Very good !

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  32. gregorj says
    December 7, 2012, 10:34 pm
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    Fabulous!

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  33. December 5, 2012, 2:26 am
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    AMAZING STORYLINE. LOVE THE FILM REFERENCES. EASTERN PROMISES IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE FILMS.

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    says
    December 4, 2012, 9:17 pm

    Rad

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    peterfitz says
    December 3, 2012, 11:29 pm
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    Great story, this – if you love action and a fast pace, strap yourself in and enjoy!

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    tdub11 says
    December 2, 2012, 1:34 am
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    I thought it was an awesome story that kept me from putting it down. Had to know what happens next

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  37. Profile photo of danielciarlo
    December 2, 2012, 12:41 am
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    Awesome

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    kervern says
    December 2, 2012, 12:17 am
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    good fun.

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  39. HeadKase says
    December 2, 2012, 12:17 am
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    Apologize for the double post. It didn’t register my vote on the previous comment 😀

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  40. HeadKase says
    December 2, 2012, 12:14 am

    Wow! When this hits the silver screens I will be there.

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    • December 2, 2012, 12:21 am

      Wow! That’s quite a compliment! Thank you HeadKase! If this ever hits theaters, you will be a VIP at the premiere! Haha

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  41. November 30, 2012, 7:59 pm
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    Absolutely wonderful piece of writing… keeps you on your toes and deals out the blows with unexpected character development and plot twists…

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  42. Profile photo of wwestern
    wwestern says
    November 30, 2012, 7:06 am
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    Awesome. Best I’ve read and worth taking the time to rate.

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  43. November 30, 2012, 4:20 am
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    I was actually impressed. Well done.

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  44. Profile photo of
    says
    November 28, 2012, 8:06 pm

    Nice.

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  45. Profile photo of
    says
    November 27, 2012, 10:26 pm

    T’was badass.

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  46. November 27, 2012, 9:50 pm
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    Russian Cross

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  47. mikeyz says
    November 26, 2012, 2:21 pm
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    Great thrill-ride right up until the end … and then I was a little let down, so sorry to say.

    Given the nature of the Cal character – I found his resolution to his problem a bit too risky and perplexing. The Tarantino-ish ending was intriguing but again – it was difficult for me to buy the fact that Cal could basically orchestrate such a dangerous scheme involving such a shady group of thugs.

    I really enjoyed watching the Cal character develop into a tougher person through his association with Anthony yet continue to stay the moralistic person he truly was.

    I found your slug lines to be a little vague at times as well particularly when you shifted from scene to scene. I sometimes was confused as to where I was and why I was suddenly in that setting. You may just want to double-check and fine tune that detail a bit.

    Overall, a pretty good little thriller with some good dialogue and compelling characters!

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