A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Gold Dust is an adventure-comedy about two bumbling amateur prospectors who stumble into found money and try to elude the leader of a drug cartel who wants it back. One of the subplots centers on a group of kids known as the "Lost Boys" who have escaped getting kidnapped by the drug cartel and forced to smuggle drugs. They now hide in the desert with guns and machine guns. The henchman sent by the leader of the drug cartel knocks out everyone he comes across, striking them in the head with either a rod or his gun before tying them up and taping their mouths shut as they sit crammed in the back seats of his truck. A man is found in the middle of the desert presumed dead in a Jeep with booze bottles in the front seat. While not paying attention during their drive through the desert, the prospectors accidentally strike a girl with their truck; she's unharmed. Some fighting with guns. In another scene, the leader of the drug cartel beats up one of the prospectors after the prospector tries to propose marriage to the cartel leader's wife. Infrequent mild profanity includes "damn" and "hell."
What's the story?
In GOLD DUST, Moses and Fink are two bumbling aspiring prospectors on the US/Mexican border who always seem to be one step behind their rivals while searching for treasure. In the midst of their newest search, they happen upon a Jeep with an unconscious and presumed dead man who looks like Santa Claus in the driver's seat, and a duffel bag filled with cash in the back. They take the money, and now must elude the wrath of the notorious El Guapo, the leader of a drug cartel who also loves animal prints and disco music. Hot on the trail of the money is "The Dancing Killer," the right-hand man of El Guapo. As "The Dancing Killer" knocks unconscious everyone he comes across in the desert before kidnapping them, Moses and Fink literally run into a young girl who has escaped the cartel. She tells Moses and Fink about how kids are being kidnapped and forced to smuggle heroin across the border. Some of these kids have escaped, and they are now a kind of guerilla force called "The Lost Boys." When faced with helping "The Lost Boys" and saving those kidnapped by "The Dancing Killer," Fink opts instead to go back to civilization, find the woman he has been secretly in love with since high school, and propose marriage now that he's a wealthy man. Meanwhile, Moses tries to do the right thing, but unless his best friend can learn to value friendship over greed, it seems that all is lost.
Is it any good?
It's unclear what the filmmakers were going for with this unfocused movie. While there are attempts at silly comedy, these attempts seem strange in light of the fact that one of the many threads to the story centers on kids kidnapped by a drug cartel and forced to smuggle heroin across the border. What could have been a bumbling caper in the tradition of Abbott and Costello gets lost in the morass of an unwieldy story. It doesn't help that the attempts at humor are as excruciating as watching an aspiring stand-up at a comedy club open mic bomb so horribly, it's downright awkward.
It's obviously low-budget, and while one might cut the movie some slack because of this, there's an unshakable feeling that the script needed at least one more rewrite, if not several, and the scenes needed considerably less improvisation from the two lead characters. (The Lord of the Rings Orc imitation grows especially irritating instead of funny.) After a while, you start to forget why the movie is even called Gold Dust -- something about heroin being the gold of today. Even in skilled hands, it's hard to pull off silliness when your subject matter is heroin, and when it doesn't work, the unentertaining result is, well, this.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about low-budget movies. What do you think would be the challenges in trying to make a movie with limited resources?
Was the violence necessary to Gold Dust, or did it seem gratuitous? Why?
Can you think of other movies that are adventure-comedies? How does this one compare?
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