||In recent years, I have complained about the inability of movies to close strongly. Numerous films with promising beginnings and middles have fallen apart at the end. Thankfully, that's not the case with The Dukes, where a satisfying final half-hour redeems the mediocre 60 minutes that precede it. After starting with a lackluster introduction and a by-the-numbers heist sequence, the film concludes with an upbeat and appealing final act that recalls Big Night. And, in something of a surprise for a movie germinating from the pen and camera of perennial bad guy Robert Davi and starring Davi and Chazz Palmineteri, The Dukes has a big heart and no penchant for violence. The rating is a soft PG-13, making this entirely suitable for family viewing. Not since David Lynch went G has there been such an unlikely cinematic occurrence...The Dukes is a labor of love for Davi and, in order to get it made, he had to go the independent route. This sort of simple story, with no pyrotechnics or big-name stars, is not the kind of thing Hollywood funds anymore. The return on investment, if there is one, is too low. Davi's inexperience as a director shows. Some of the transitions are sloppy (especially one surrounding a dream sequence) and he displays an inordinate fondness for lazy Susan shots (where the camera spins in circles around a group of characters). Overall, however, it is competently assembled and it gives us an opportunity to see this rogues gallery of tough guys playing ordinary, blue collar individuals. Due to its limited distribution pattern and the fact that it is being released into theaters during the heart of the competitive holiday market, The Dukes may be hard to find on the big screen, but it's worth keeping an eye out for once it reaches DVD.