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Rush Reviews

Producer-turned-director Lili Fini Zanuck and novelist-screenwriter Pete Dexter have largely de-fanged ex-narcotics cop Kim Wozencraft's semi-autobiographical thriller, turning RUSH into a melodramatic, if gritty, Hollywood muddle. Jim Raynor (Jason Patric) is an undercover Texas cop ordered to "sacrifice a virgin" by his supervisor, Larry Dodd (Sam Elliott), as part of establishing a cover to bring down suspected big-time drug dealer Will Gaines (Gregg Allmann). Over Dodd's objections, Raynor chooses fresh-scrubbed police recruit Kristen Cates (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Unbeknownst to Kristen, Raynor has already succumbed to substance abuse and part of her own cover will include snorting, smoking or shooting up anything that is put in front of her to establish her credibility on the street. Gutted of many of the novel's key ironies, the film version of RUSH becomes a routine revenge melodrama in its final moments. Zanuck and Dexter employ an elliptical narrative style, stringing together vaguely connected scenes that nervously cut away before their full, depressing implications can sink in. The result is a lack of any meaningful character development or narrative drive. Along the way, though, Patric and Leigh do highly compelling work, and Zanuck does a fine job of recreating the feel of a small Texas town in the age of "Freebird," flared trousers, and Ford Impalas. As Gaines, Gregg Allman is scary in a way that only aging rock stars can be. Speaking of aging rock stars, Eric Clapton scored a huge hit with the theme song, "Tears in Heaven."