Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 05/15/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"DEAD EVIDENCE is a mystery thriller set and filmed in New Zealand. That's a change, huh? Angela Dotchin plays Jodie, a wannabe private eye who is working as girl Friday for a rather ineffective boorish boss. One day she overhears her boss telling his female client that there's nothing he can do for her husband. The husband is played by C. Thomas Howell, looking unusually buff and macho, and he is in jail for the rape and murder of a young girl five years ago. His appeal is coming up and wife believes that a recent similar killing in the same neck of the woods may have been done by the same man who killed the previous girl. She says hubby is innocent. When the PI turns her down, Jodie decides to investigate on her own and in the process loses her job. She hooks up with an ex-cop played quite handily by Kevin Smith, a roughened hunk, buff and hard-boiled. Their private investigation goes awry when Howell breaks out of prison and goes to kill the cop he feels framed him. During this break, Howell accidentally wounds Smith and Dotchin is on her own. Her trail leads to a kindly veterinarian who just might be the killer.
The pace is tight and although there aren't any surprises once the killer is identified, Smith and Dotchin have a good chemistry and they are different kinds of heroes.
This is a pleasant surprise and worth viewing if you like the film noir type of mystery."
Hard-To-Accept Storyline Cripples A Lacklustre Crime Melodra
rsoonsa | Lake Isabella, California | 08/09/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"A fairly engaging thriller filmed within the Auckland/Waitakere region of New Zealand, and featuring Auckland area actors in lead roles, this work is the second from a set of three showcasing a nonconformist former policeman, John Lawless (Kevin Smith) and his quondam police partner, Jodie Keen (Angela Dotchin), in this tale the pair having dedicated themselves toward solving a homicide of a female hitchhiker that is possibly related to a five-year-old case, although any connection between the two events is blurred by the fact that the suspect convicted of the first murder, Dean Riley (C. Thomas Howell) is still residing in prison. Riley's wife Trina (Kim Michalis) has consistently maintained that her husband is innocent, and has met with success in arranging for an appeal hearing of his conviction. Jodie, now employed as assistant to a private investigator, becomes involved with aiding Trina and her preparation for the appeal, and consequently is fired from her job. She is then able to procure the services of Lawless, who has been working as a bouncer at a trashy tavern, where his physical condition has declined as a result of the company that he keeps. Initially hesitant to assist Jodie and the Rileys, Lawless becomes increasingly interested in doing so after he learns that a former Police Department adversary, one Inspector Snow (Ross Duncan), has been given oversight of the pending appeal, causing John to believe that there may have been evidence tampering in the case. Riley is convinced that he was framed by Snow, and when he escapes from the prison hospital, wherein he has been placed following an intentional act of self-mutilation, in order to hunt down the Inspector, the task taken on by John and Jodie to establish his innocence becomes immensely more formidable and a great deal more dangerous, as well. The group of three "Lawless" works proved to be successful vehicles for Smith, who is given top billing and whose fans will be delighted with his bluff performance. His premature death helped to lift his reputation to virtual cult status. However, this film is highly imitative and follows what must be considered set guidelines for its genre. The direction is flaccid and awkwardly paced, the narrative falling somewhat short of being coherent, due to flaws in logic and continuity that are probably to be expected from a movie that is to be sundered by commercial announcements."