Terminal ★½

An effective cure to whatever lingering nostalgia you might have for the chintzy, winking, hyper-stylized neo-noirs that flooded the indie film market in the wake of “Pulp Fiction,” Vaughn Stein’s “Terminal” takes a mess of dead tropes and Frankensteins them together into an crime saga that’s in desperate need of brains. And a soul. And a story.

That being said, this candied genre mishmash owes much less to Mary Shelley than it does to Lewis Carroll or Frank Miller. Stein’s exhausting pastiche unfolds like a cross between “Alice in Wonderland” and “Sin City,” as its dire cast of hitmen, femme fatales, and shadowy masterminds are filtered through a neon underworld where nonsense is the only kind of sense that anyone has left. As the film’s dark city is described by one of its most demented residents: “There is a place like no other on Earth — a land full of wonder, mystery, and danger. Some say to survive it you need to be as mad as a hatter.” Okay, but it’s hard to imagine a rabbit having any use for such a shallow hole.

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