THE IMMORTALS is a Hollywood exploitation product designed to help fill the vast wasteland of cable, and/or to sucker unwary renters. It's remarkable only for its overall poor quality and Tia Carrere's visual appeal.
Jack (Eric Roberts) owns a strip bar and has underworld connections. He contacts a group of previously unacquainted criminals whose mission is to steal four suitcases of cash from mob drop points. Their reward is a cut of what they bring back.
Each crook is assigned a partner (producing predictable squabbles) and the teams leave for destinations contained in sealed envelopes. They all complete their tasks sloppily, alerting the mob, and the cops, who converge on the club with guns blazing. Inside, Jack tries to double-cross them all,
but survival dictates that they all fight the cops and goons together.
During the ensuing shootfest, the team discovers what they all have in common: cancer, AIDS, or some other terminal condition. Each has a sob story; apparently medical bills and social pressures have driven each of them to a life of crime. They were chosen because they were going to die anyway,
although the rationale for this is unclear. George (Brian Finney) is the lone exception: he's retarded but otherwise healthy.
Dominic (Tony Curtis), Pete (Joe Pantoliano), Duke (Chris Rock), Billy (Kevin Bernhardt), Benny (Clarence Williams III), Tim (William Forsythe), and Kerry (Kieran Mulroney) are all killed, learning to love each other in the long, noisy process. Gina (Tia Carrere) escapes, posing as a hostage. Jack
and George confront and kill Mifune (Michael Paul Chan), the evil Japanese mastermind behind it all, and walk off together into the LA darkness.
The sophomoric screenplay (by Kevin Bernhardt) is the root cause of THE IMMORTALS' singular lack of coherence. Various shopworn but serviceable plot devices are introduced, then left to die the same slow, unlovely deaths as the main characters. Jack's briefing and the preparations for the heist
resemble a staff meeting in a failing office. The antagonistic partners subplot is a total flop. Reasons why the partners hate, and later love, each other are predictable but unconvincing, i.e., a gay new-ager (Bernhardt) with a macho wiseguy, or a black stud (Chris Rock!) with feminist tough
THE IMMORTALS is filled with gratuitous violence, bad language, and obnoxious racial slurs and stereotypes. All this offensiveness is uneasily contradicted by the warm, fuzzy, everybody-dies-together theme (they don't). Money spent on the destruction of lavish sets is wasted. If the film is meant
as an industry in-joke, it isn't funny. Visually clumsy, badly edited, poorly acted, and cluttered, THE IMMORTALS may aim at parody, but achieves only myopic Hollywood excess. (Graphic violence, extensive nudity, extreme profanity, adult situations.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: THE IMMORTALS is a Hollywood exploitation product designed to help fill the vast wasteland of cable, and/or to sucker unwary renters. It's remarkable only for its overall poor quality and Tia Carrere's visual appeal. Jack (Eric Roberts) owns a strip bar a… (more)