Ambushed

  • 1999
  • 1 HR 39 MIN

As an invective against white supremacists, this finger-pointing cop picture is boisterous but none too convincing. When white separatist icon Jim Natter (William Sadler) is gunned down at a gas station, the real killers frame the Black Muslims. While Natter's two-faced successor Shannon Harrold (Robert Patrick) espouses white-power rhetoric in the media,...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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As an invective against white supremacists, this finger-pointing cop picture is boisterous but none too convincing. When white separatist icon Jim Natter (William Sadler) is gunned down at a gas station, the real killers frame the Black Muslims. While Natter's two-faced

successor Shannon Harrold (Robert Patrick) espouses white-power rhetoric in the media, Sheriff Carter (Charles Hallahan) assigns Jerry Robinson (Courtney B. Vance) to guard Natter's equally racist youngster Eric (Jeremy Lelliott): An eyewitness to his dad's murder, Eric has deduced that Harrold

ordered the assassination. While transporting Eric to a safe house, Robinson's men are ambushed in a plot fronted by a vicious redneck cop, Lawrence (David Keith); Lawrence is shot in the crossfire and blames Robinson. On the lam with Eric, Robinson scrambles from the cops -- who believe

Lawrence's lies -- and from Harrold, who's eager to cast suspicion elsewhere. Aided by Deputy Lucy Monroe (Virginia Madsen), who assembles proof of Robinson's innocence, Robinson tries to keep one step ahead of capture. As a policier, this melodrama has some legitimacy, and

cinematographer-turned-director Ernest Dickerson handles the action sequences with real excitement. As a message movie, however, it founders. Little Eric's change of heart is too obvious, and, while a link between neo-Nazis and the good old boy network may not be without precedent, it's dubiously

presented as an every-day occurrence. Short on logic and long on polemics, this pumped-up action pic dashes to a predictable, preordained conclusion.

MIXED-ISH - In "mixed-ish," Rainbow Johnson recounts her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the '80s and the constant dilemmas they had to face over whether to assimilate or stay true to themselves. Bow's parents Paul and Alicia decide to move from a hippie commune to the suburbs to better provide for their family. As her parents struggle with the challenges of their new life, Bow and her siblings navigate a mainstream school in which they're perceived as neither black nor white. This family's experiences illuminate the challenges of finding one's own identity when the rest of the world can't decide where you belong. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal)
MYKAL-MICHELLE HARRIS, ARICA HIMMEL, ETHAN WILLIAM CHILDRESS

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