A busy but inconsequential urban crime thriller, INSIDE EDGE toplines Michael Madsen as tough cop Richard Montana, who's been using decidedly unorthodox means to topple drug kingpin Mario Gio (Richard Lynch). Up until now, Gio has been largely amused by Montana's endeavors. His latest escapade, busting Gio cohort Hip-Hop (George Jenesky), results in a...read more
A busy but inconsequential urban crime thriller, INSIDE EDGE toplines Michael Madsen as tough cop Richard Montana, who's been using decidedly unorthodox means to topple drug kingpin Mario Gio (Richard Lynch).
Up until now, Gio has been largely amused by Montana's endeavors. His latest escapade, busting Gio cohort Hip-Hop (George Jenesky), results in a $150,000 civilian lawsuit against the department and angers police chief Deming (Clifford Dalton). In retaliation, Deming slights Montana by promoting a
rival officer, Henderson (Branscombe Richmond), to lieutenant; Montana blames Henderson for the earlier death of his partner. Against the warnings of his current partner and friend, Dan Nealy (Tony Peck), Montana falls for Gio's girlfriend, Lisa Zamora (Rosie Vela), a sultry cafe singer, who soon
realizes she can use him to get revenge on Gio, who hasn't delivered on his promise to help her career. She gets Gio and Montana together; strengthening his own crime position, Gio starts feeding him information on his drug rivals, and when Montana brings them down, he is lionized by the press and
Deming reluctantly promotes him.
Now, however, Gio has the goods on Montana, so he blackmails him into making a $5 million drug buy, during which Hip-Hop is killed, in Miami from Mr. Ortiz (Antonio Iarve). With lists provided by Lisa, Montana sells the drugs directly to Gio's dealers. Gio catches on to the scam; in a final
shootout, Gio, Nealy (who was on Gio's payroll all along) and his henchmen are killed by Montana and Lisa, leaving the latter pair facing an undetermined future, except that they now have a suitcase full of tax-free cash.
Given its complex storyline (it's actually fairly well laid out, except for the disappointingly inconclusive ending), INSIDE EDGE should have been more interesting than it is, particularly regarding the entwined love/hate relationships among Montana, Gio and Lisa. But Vincent Gutierrez and William
Tannen's screenplay does little more than establish this theme; otherwise, director Warren Clark is content to lay out the standard genre violence.
Veteran heavy Lynch (SWORD AND SORCERERS, PUPPET MASTER III) is, as usual, excellent as the villainous slimeball. Rosie Velez (THE TWO JAKES) is competent as the femme fatale; in addition, she expertly belts out two bluesy songs, "Can't Walk Away from Your Love" and "Heavy Rain." Hero Michael
Madsen (THELMA AND LOUISE, THE DOORS), on the other hand, is more problematical; with a strong director and good material, Madsen has contributed some memorable screen characters. Lacking that, however, he's simply twitchily laconic, a second-rate James Dean. Whether or not he's improvising some
dialogue herein, Madsen's scenes are draggy and unfocused, and the crucial question of whether he's a good cop or a corrupt one is much less interesting--and it's ultimately ignored by the movie--than Lisa's playing both him and Gio against each other.
INSIDE EDGE is well done technically, although Russell Moore's production design has a few gaffes: Montana's neat and clean apartment, for instance, doesn't reflect his working-class-hero character as effectively as his scruffy clothes and car do. Released direct-to-video, this LA-set movie was
shot entirely on location in Baja California. (Violence, substance abuse, profanity, nudity.)
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