THE HARD TRUTH is a muscular actioner and triangular sex intrigue that distinguishes itself from similar direct-to-video fare on the strength of its acting, as well as the some notably cagey plot twists.
Jonah Mantz (Michael Rooker) is a dedicated street cop whose fatal flaw comes in the form of the exotic Lisa Kantrell (Lysette Anthony), his live-in girlfriend. Kantrell is personal assistant to Hamilton Nichols (Roy Baker), a corrupt city councilman whose swing vote will determine the fate of a
major city development. If approved, the project will both displace minority housing and provide lucrative construction contracts to Leandro, a local crime lord. Nichols's vote actually hinges on a massive mob kickback, which is to be deposited in his office safe moments before his decision is
announced in an open council session.
Kantrell devises a plan to boost the cash during the council meeting, and employs feminine wiles to enlist the brutish Mantz. Using his elaborate street network, Mantz recruits a brilliant safe-cracker, Chandler Etheridge (Eric Roberts), who now works as a research scientist at a high-tech lab.
Etheridge masterminds a way to drill into the safe, employing plenty of newfangled gadgetry, but his ambition gets the better of him, and soon he's plotting for Kantrell as well. Meanwhile, through his pal Luis Gisors (Don Yesso), a rogue cop now serving as internal security man for the mob chief,
Mantz lets it be known that the heat will soon be coming down on Leandro. Both Mantz's volatile temper and Etheridge's compulsion to play with fire are time-bombs, and, as the friction between them mounts, it's unclear exactly who is using whom. In the final set of hairpin curves, the heist goes
off without a hitch and Kantrell throws in with Etheridge, only to be set up by Mantz and his pal Gisors, who make off with the cash.
Eric Roberts shines in his brainiac mode as the hard-wired genius with a touch of hubris, and makes a good complement to Michael Rooker's set-jawed club fighter. The movie keeps you guessing. It's not bad for a streamlined video caper, with a payoff that's well worth the wait, and the good taste
to keep the sex simmering at a low boil throughout. (Violence, nudity, sexual situations, profanity.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: THE HARD TRUTH is a muscular actioner and triangular sex intrigue that distinguishes itself from similar direct-to-video fare on the strength of its acting, as well as the some notably cagey plot twists. Jonah Mantz (Michael Rooker) is a dedicated stree… (more)