May 13, 2002 12:00 PM

Stephen Dorff, Brad Renfro, Matt Dillon

This clichéd tale of combative Brooklyn street gangs in the late 1950s gets it so wrong in so many ways, it’s almost cruel to count them. But let’s just start with the fact that nearly everyone wears a black leather jacket, even though it’s summer and, as one character kvetches, “It must be like 115 degrees.” This kind of heavy overkill does Deuces Wild in long before its gangbangers start bumping each other off.

Brothers Leon (Dorff) and Bobby (Renfro) are opposites. Leon, the leader of the Deuces gang, is a near-saint, protective of women and children and a regular at church. Younger Bobby is a hothead quick to use his fists. They’re determined to keep their block free of drugs, which puts them in conflict with a local Mob boss (Dillon) and his flunky (Balthazar Getty), leader of the rival Vipers. To complicate matters, Bobby is in love with the rival gang leader’s sister (Fairuza Balk), and one keeps expecting these two kids to break into West Side Story‘s love duet “Somewhere.” If only.

Dorff at least seems sincere in what he’s doing, but Renfro is all posturing and bad Brooklyn accent. Dillon’s role is little more than a cameo, and he sleepwalks through it. (R)

Bottom Line: Hackneyed hoods

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