How many ridiculous movies can an actor's career endure? Richard Gere explores the possibilities with his appearance in this solemnly silly thriller helmed by Michael Figgis. In the wake of STORMY MONDAY, his critically acclaimed debut, this outing also represents a professional stumble for Mike Figgis. Figgis again aims for sensual moodiness, but so many...read more
How many ridiculous movies can an actor's career endure? Richard Gere explores the possibilities with his appearance in this solemnly silly thriller helmed by Michael Figgis. In the wake of STORMY MONDAY, his critically acclaimed debut, this outing also represents a professional stumble
for Mike Figgis. Figgis again aims for sensual moodiness, but so many clashing tones clamor for the viewer's attention that the result is a noisy mishmash.
Gere plays Dennis Peck, a star cop in one of the ritzier precincts of LA's San Fernando Valley. In his spare time, Peck is also a master criminal, running a vast empire of corruption out of that notorious breeding ground for vice, the Sherman Oaks Galleria shopping mall. Taking a bribery cut out
of most of the vice in the Valley, Peck launders his ill-gotten fortunes through his four ex-wives, making them all tycoons on paper. (All we see them doing, though, is making breakfast and doing laundry for Peck and his passel of kids.)
Peck also has a unique method of keeping his criminal operatives under control: he turns their wives into his pliant sex slaves by introducing them to the joys of kinky sex during his free afternoons--which he seems to have ten days a week. In fact, we rarely see Peck doing anything so mundane and
legit as actually arresting people; nonetheless, when internal affairs investigator Raymond Avila (Garcia) tries to unravel Peck's web of corruption, he meets a wall of resistance from his superiors for going after one of the force's most "productive" cops. Instead, Avila is called in to
investigate Peck's partner, Stretch (Baldwin), an old friend of Avila's who has apparently been stretched to the breaking point as Peck's right-hand man.
Enough. The plot is, to say the least, mindlessly complex, with little room left to develop any kind of consistent mood, much less to develop characters beyond the sum of their cliches. Moreover, as LETHAL WEAPON and its spin-offs have indicated, today's high-impact cop thriller is no place for
subtlety anyway. When in doubt, LETHAL WEAPON damned the critics to plunge full-speed ahead into boom-boom cartoon action, giving audiences a wild roller-coaster movie ride in lieu of compelling drama. Figgis tries to have it both ways, creating an ersatz aura of worldly cynicism for the art-house
crowd, while providing plenty of sleazy sex and blood-pellet violence for those in the cheaper seats. The result is yet another goofy credit in Gere's already overloaded resume of embarrassment--although some may consider this one of those movies that's so silly it's good.
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