Many poor action movies exist only to pump up an audience and give little regard to narrative sense. Still, their lack of clarity is usually redeemed by flashy camerawork, succulent villains, or dramatic staging of fight sequences. With this in mind, THE WHARF RAT would be totally
worthless if not for the fact that it brings two under-utilized actresses to the screen.
Two brothers, Matt Martin (Scott Cohen), a cop, and Petey Martin (Lou Diamond Phillips), a wharf thief, are in constant conflict, even though Petey once served time for his brother on a youthful offense. When Matt and his crooked partner, Doc (Judge Reinhold), apprehend Petey in a computer-chip
robbery, Doc offers a deal: if Matt looks the other way concerning Doc's illegal activities, Doc will let Petey off the hook. The transaction is witnessed by roving reporter Dexter Ireland (Rachel Ticotin), who snaps photos of this cover-up without realizing how deeply corrupt the police force
During a drug bust, Doc cold-bloodedly ices the drug vendors and also kills Matt. Now aware that the crooked cops will sooner or later figure out she's spied on them, Dexter teams up with Petey. Confiding in a friendly cop, Mario (Peter Radon), Petey sets out to ensnare Doc and the officials who
sanctioned Matt's assassination. Doc forces inside information about Petey's next move out of Petey's ex-prisonmate, Bucko (William Dunlop). But Bucko remains on Petey's side; he and Petey subsequently heist an armored car. When Mario surprisingly tries to betray Petey, Petey foils Mario's plans.
Mario, in turn, is killed by Doc so that he can't cut himself in on the take. Petey paves the way for honest department heads to nab Doc.
By the time this action flick reaches its puff-of-steam climax, viewers will have tuned out completely. It aims to involve the viewer in a Chinese puzzle of complexities, but instead it's a shell game designed by a screenwriter who jettisons logic on whim. This lame enterprise doesn't even attempt
to seize upon any of its campier opportunities, such as Petey's use of a drag bar as a hangout in which Ticotin performs the dreariest Victor/Victoria gambit on record. The film's lowest point is the sequence in which the cops hold a disrespectful funeral for Matt, complete with booze and a
coffin-side stripper; the film's biggest crime is the manner in which it wastes the talents of Ticotin and, in the small role of the protagonists' mother, the always watchable Rita Moreno. (Graphic violence, sexual situations, adult situations, substance abuse, extreme profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: Many poor action movies exist only to pump up an audience and give little regard to narrative sense. Still, their lack of clarity is usually redeemed by flashy camerawork, succulent villains, or dramatic staging of fight sequences. With this in mind, THE W… (more)