Not nearly as much exploitation fun as it should have been, this mystery-thriller about an international chess master who solves a series of murders in his spare time is as dippy, dull and dopey as its title.
We're introduced to dashing, lady-killing chess master Paul Sanderson (Christopher Lambert, of GREYSTOKE fame) as he's mowing down the competition at a match in a small Washington state town that's being stalked by a serial murderer. Beautiful blond women are being drained of their blood,
painted up in smeared mascara, and beatifically posed on their beds with cryptic messages scrawled in blood on their headboards. The first victim has slept with Sanderson, so he becomes the prime suspect. Local cops Frank Sedman (Tom Skerritt) and Andy Wagner (Daniel Baldwin) send a local
psychiatrist (Diane Lane) to try to gather information about Sanderson, but the two become lovers instead.
The plot thickens as the killer begins phoning Sanderson and tipping him to the locations and identities of his subsequent victims in a pattern that suggests a chess match the killer once played with Sanderson and lost. Unswayed, Sedman and Wagner keep the pressure on Sanderson and eventually
arrest him at the exact moment Sanderson realizes that the killer's final victim is to be his cute, precocious daughter by his late wife. The realization compels Sanderson to break out of jail and confront the killer--a disturbed computer nerd with a standard-issue Oedipal complex whom Sanderson
trounced in a childhood chess match--in the flooded basement of his hotel.
With just a little tweaking, the scenario for KNIGHT MOVES would make a credible NAKED GUN sequel--it's certainly ridiculous enough. The only marginally good news about KNIGHT MOVES is that Madonna no longer has to take all the heat for her much-maligned BODY OF EVIDENCE, since both EVIDENCE and
MOVES were written by Brad Mirman, who also takes a co-executive producing credit on KNIGHT MOVES. Under Carl Schenkel's soporific direction, it's dull, talky, slow-moving, and filled with unsympathetic characters caught up in a blitheringly transparent "mystery." Erotic chores fall predictably to
Lane and Lambert, as Mirman earnestly appropriates Joe Eszterhas' favorite recycled theme (the professional who loses his/her objectivity after sleeping with a client), with Lane's psychiatrist losing her cool after a night of nuzzling with the grand master. (Nudity, adult situations, violence,profanity.)
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- Released: 1993
- Rating: R
- Review: Not nearly as much exploitation fun as it should have been, this mystery-thriller about an international chess master who solves a series of murders in his spare time is as dippy, dull and dopey as its title. We're introduced to dashing, lady-killing ch… (more)