James Woods is "at his cold-blooded best" and Brian Dennehy shines in "one of the very best roles hes ever had" (Variety) in this "captivating and mesmerizing psychological thriller" (The Hollywood Reporter) in which trust... more »ing your partner can be as deadly as trusting your enemy. After years of loyal service, professional assassin Cleve (Woods) has been let go by the corporate empire he helped build. Now he wants revenge in a tell-all book. From different sides of the law and opposing ends of the moral spectrum, Cleve and best-selling author Dennis Meechum (Dennehy) forman unusual partnership. But when Meechum's daughter is kidnapped by Cleve's former employer, Meechum discovers exactly what kind of man he's been partnered with as he's pulled into an explosive confrontation that will leave only one of them standing!« less
James Woods gives heart to his portrayal of a killer
jenner125 | Fredericksburg, VA | 07/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're not a James Woods fan, you wouldn't understand, but bear with me: This movie is really a story about the redemption of the assassin Cleve, played by Woods. The characters in the movie are given little depth by the writers, but the stars give heart to this film. I was most intrigued by the performance of Woods. Most actors play assassins as raving psychotics, (and typically Woods is no exception) but Woods takes the character of Cleve a step further. Seen in the beginning of the film as a savior to the best selling author and cop named Dennis played by Denneghy, Cleve at first shows a cool exterior and one wonders if this will be yet another Woods' film where he simply gets to shoot a lot of people. But when the character of Cleve comes to life, Woods shows his depth as an actor. Cleve's cool exterior and successful career as an assassin masks a tangible vulnerability as Cleve tries to come to terms with his life, wanting himself to be seen by the public as "sympathetic" in Dennis' "best seller." (You see this at the very end of the film where Cleve has to make a decision: get final revenge on his boss Matlock or save Dennis's teenage daughter). The ending is worth every minute of the background 80's synth music.Cleve doesn't feel guilt in the murders he's committed for the cupidity of the company; as Cleve says matter-of-factly, "It's the profession I was in, Dennis." This streak of sociopathic deeds combined with an obession for verbal politeness was an interesting mix that I found intriguing. (One tongue-in-check example is after Cleve saves Dennis' life, he places a card on Dennis' windshield with the simple message: "Say thank you!")There were many great scenes like that throughout the film, making you wonder if you should hate Cleve for what he's done, or pity him, even like him, for who he wants to become. Watching the complexities of Woods' character slowly unfold was well worth the money. This film is excellent, especially if you are a James Woods fan."
One of the Best From Woods and Dennehy
William T. Parnell | Sherman, NY USA | 05/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"James Woods and Brian Dennehy both shine in this thriller about a cop/author who teams with a psychotic killer in order to bring down an organized crime figure.It is fascinating to watch the interaction betwwen the two leads. Dennehy knows that Woods is a cold-blooded killer yet he uses a combination of physical presence and intestinal fortitude to keep the the smaller Woods in line. Woods' character actually tries to befriend Dennehy but one is never sure that he won't snap and kill Dennehy at any moment.This is an excellent film and a showcase for the talents of these two fine actors. I hope a DVD version will be released but until then it's VHS only."
It is truly a gem
Scott FS | Sacramento, CA United States | 08/14/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Somehow, I missed this when it was released theatrically, and I'm sorry I did.
James Woods gives a boffo performance as a professional hit man, who tries (for a long time) to convince a cop named Dennis (Brian Dennehy) that he is telling him the truth about his life as a killer. Woods plays Cleve, and is simply fantastic. Other reviewers emphasize Woods' performance, but Dennehy more than holds his own.
Cleve is the type of person you'd be fascinated as heck to know from a distance, but I'm sure I'd not be very comfortable up close and personal with such a violent, loose cannon. He can be sympathetic, but just when you think you can trust him, he turns horribly violent. Besides, a lot of people in his life just seem to end up dead!
There are some formulaic aspects to the film, but all in all, it's fresh, compelling, and the kind of movie you're going to remember for quite a while. It will actually keep you guessing to the end.
If you are looking for a taunt, tense thriller, this is a great choice. How come I've never heard of it? I'm not sure. I just can't understand how it was overlooked.
Not just a thriller
novicaine19 | United States | 01/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you like James Woods, this will definitely float your boat. Woods plays an ex-hitman, Cleave, for a large business situated in Los Angeles, which means you get to see him show his capacities to be smooth, calculating, and also emotionally explosive. While this movie is put in the action category, as it should be, its plot unfolds itself by slowly revealing the machinations of a corrupt and powerful business, that Woods' character is trying to take down for having gyped him at some point in his service. Throughout this development, the movie plays the characters of Woods -the cunning and dangerous hitman- and Dennehy -a just but temperamental cop- off one another. As you can guess, Dennis, the cop, continually suspects Cleave of having some dark secret or another cold trick up his sleeve. This movie's ability to display how Dennis communicates and cooperates with a criminal, who he despises, is what takes this movie beyond bare action and into a fascinating portrayal of personalities caught in the larger struggle of enforcing justice on mega-corporations."
James woods best role; great movie
novicaine19 | 05/24/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was a fan of James Woods when I first watched this movie. After seeing this movie, I was mesmorized by his talent.Woods plays a killer for a corporation. Upon being fired, he sets his sights on destroying his boss with the cooperation of a former cop, now turned writer of novels, who was a former almost victim of Woods. He, all at the same time creates a picture of a hit man that almost makes him likeable and vunerable but at the same time shows his character to be digustingly vicious. In the end, he makes us see that he is human after all. This movie has great acting and I really enjoyed the cat and mouse game. Rent this movie!"