Melodramatic Themes Overwhelm Thrills In Well-Produced Suspe
rsoonsa | Lake Isabella, California | 05/14/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This attempt at making a "thriller", shot primarily within the west San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, is intended to create suspense in a viewer, but sentimentality that lurks upon the sidelines quite often usurps the scenario, and while generally suitable for the plotline characterizations, it also serves to soften the film's narrative effect, principally due to hackneyed elements that mottle the tale of a police detective's endeavour to defend himself against the stratagems of a professional assassin. A Los Angeles Police Department detective, Griff McCleary (Linden Ashby), observes his young son accidentally kill himself, using McCleary's hand gun, an event that apparently finishes his marriage to an emotionally shattered spouse, Olivia (Alexandra Paul), yet this is but one of Griff's problems since, only a year later, when attempting to solve a double homicide, he finds himself in deep trouble with his employer after a suspect in the homicide case, Nikki Mayhew (Cynthia Preston) dies in his apartment, leading to disciplinary suspension from his job, an apparent end to any hope of reconciliation with his estranged wife, and to being stalked by Harlan (Maxwell Caulfield), the late Nikki's husband, a killer for pay. There is a good deal here to recommend in this film that benefits from above-standard production values, with several of those involved having worked together in other pictures. The direction by Rob Malenfant is neatly paced and his, coupled with cinematographer Steve Adcock's, decision to consistently employ closeups, permits a capable cast to create roles, while crisp editing by Bernard Gribble and the well-integrated scoring of Richard Bowers are correspondingly salutary, as is the designing. Unfortunately, the film is hampered by a largely uninspired screenplay and it is this failing that lowers the entire piece to its level of mediocrity. The players perform well, Caulfield furnishing one of his better performances, while Preston wins the acting laurels here as a somewhat unwilling siren for high stakes badger games. A New Concorde DVD version includes some cast biographic notes along with the movie's original trailer, and provides top-flight visual and sound reproduction."