This styleless, personality-free comic strip is neither exciting nor campily diverting. MODEL BY DAY doesn't deliver on its chic premise--a socially concerned mannequin deserts her daytime runway for nights of vigilantism--and lacks the cinematic flair to strike the right poses.
In demand all over the world, cover girl Lex (Famke Janssen) undergoes a crisis when her roommate Jae (Traci Lind) is beaten savagely during the carjacking of Lex's luxury vehicle. Despite the admonitions of her martial arts instructor, Lex flies back to New York and decides to take the law into
her own manicured hands. Although she regards hunky Lieutenant Walker (Stephen Shellen) as a potential lover, she has little faith in his claims that he'll find the creeps who nearly cost photographer Jae the sight in one eye. Geared up in kinky black leather, Lex disperses some thugs in the park
but nearly gets captured by cops. Christened "Lady X," slinky Lex becomes a nocturnal crime fighter so popular that a copycat soon appears on the mean streets. While Lex is content to bust the chops of club owner Tommy (Kim Coates), the copycat beats him to death and angers his scum-ball partners
in the Russian Mafia. A hit man (Von Flores) is hired to snuff out Tommy's killer, and Lex's life becomes entangled with that of her imitator, who pushes the late Tommy's associate Yuri (Louis DiBiano) off the roof of the Plaza Terrace.
Having survived an ambush at a dim sum restaurant, Lex and Johnny (now the target of a hit himself) prowl outside the headquarters of Russian mobster Nicolai (Nigel Bennett), who intends to end the anti-crime campaign of the Lady X impostor. Lex attacks Nicolai and confronts the imitation Lady
X, who proves to be self-defense coach Shannon (Shannon Tweed). Shannon reveals that she has been dedicating herself to eliminating the sleazeballs who forced her kid sister into prostitution, then plunges to her death as she tries to escape. Relieved to be safe in Walker's arms, Lex is none too
convincing when she promises him she'll put away her Lady X suit in mothballs. As long as low-lifes menace the weak, Lady X won't give up her moonlighting.
MODEL BY DAY is attractively shot--though Toronto is a poor double for Manhattan--and handsomely cast. Since its action sequences are staged with suitable impact and the vigilante spree occurs in a variety of scenic locales, the film at least looks like a winner. But despite all the ricocheting
bullets and self-defense workouts, it feels listless. It wastes far too much time on flesh-baring fashion shows and blows additional minutes on a yawn of a high-speed chase with Lt. Walker and Lex; overall, this thriller plugs into a lot of action flick formulas but doesn't do much by way of
redesigning them for a female. Neither a hit distaff tone poem like LA FEMME NIKITA nor a light-spirited caper like BRENDA STARR, MODEL BY DAY doesn't help the cause of lady crime fighters in the cinema. (Graphic violence, extensive nudity, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1994
- Rating: R
- Review: This styleless, personality-free comic strip is neither exciting nor campily diverting. MODEL BY DAY doesn't deliver on its chic premise--a socially concerned mannequin deserts her daytime runway for nights of vigilantism--and lacks the cinematic flair to… (more)