There's little new in this umpteenth retelling of the cautionary tale about a hapless male vamped by a psychotic temptress.
Before the credits roll, troubled Diana (Chelsea Field) savagely attacks her soused husband Ted Delaney (Rex Smith) with a knife. Later, psychiatrist David Lawson (Scott Bakula) and his ex-girlfriend Beth (Sheila Kelley), an assistant D.A., are nonplused when their Casanova buddy Jerry (John
Getz) announces that he's married Diana after a whirlwind courtship aboard a cruise ship. When problems quickly surface in the form of violent episodes, Jerry coaxes David to scope out Diana's erratic behavior on an unofficial basis. Although he's advised by Dr. Louise Mazaud (France Nuyen) that
his involvement is unethical, David continues to probe Diana's psyche even after she comes on to him; before long, the two fall into bed. By the time Delaney appears and tells Jerry about Diana's attack on him, Jerry's already drinking heavily and contemplating divorce.
Inevitably, Diana murders Jerry; although David believes her protestations of innocence and agrees to provide her with an alibi, Detectives Morales (Eddie Velez) and Robinson (Michael Cavanaugh) are skeptical. Meanwhile, Beth--acting partly out of jealousy--decides to prosecute Delaney for the
murder; however, Delaney becomes the next victim and the evidence points to Beth. With Beth tucked away in the pen, David tests Diana's veracity by getting drunk and provoking her (Diana, we discover, was raped by her alcoholic father when she was 15). Finally forcing the truth out of his
distraught lover, David secures Beth's release from jail; Diana ends up in a posh sanitarium.
Despite their utter predictability, films like A PASSION TO KILL have a primitive appeal, particularly where, as here, the cinematography is sleek and the cast is able-bodied. Not much thought is required on the viewer's part as Bakula's lips lunge ahead to engorge Field's mouth with the suction
power of a plunger. Gaping plot holes and ludicrous character motivations are easily forgiven: you simply expect the hero to go out of his way to locate deranged babes with cutlery fetishes.
In this make-believe world of basic instincts, it's almost always the man who gets to play with his psychotic love-toy and then return unscathed to an orderly existence. Thus, although A PASSION TO KILL is in other respects routine, it deserves credit for presenting a hero who bothers to visit
his ex-girlfriend in the nuthouse. Just because he's unethical doesn't mean he's disloyal. (Graphic violence, extreme profanity, extensive nudity, sexual situations, substance abuse.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: There's little new in this umpteenth retelling of the cautionary tale about a hapless male vamped by a psychotic temptress. Before the credits roll, troubled Diana (Chelsea Field) savagely attacks her soused husband Ted Delaney (Rex Smith) with a knife.… (more)