Coming off as an attempt to combine a serious political thriller with a gung-ho, RAMBO-style action film, KILLING STREETS ends up too simplistic to succeed as the former and not spectacular or inventive enough to satisfy as the latter.
While working on a US intelligence mission in Beirut, Lebanon, Marine Craig Brandt (Michael Pare) is abducted by a Lebanese terrorist group called the Kalishmulad and appears to die in a car explosion. Upon receiving the news, Craig's twin brother Chris (also played by Pare) flies to Beirut to
seek the truth about his sibling's fate. Having been given the runaround by the US government, Chris has a gut feeling that his twin is still alive, but when he arrives at US headquarters in Beirut, he is greeted by Charlie Wolf (Lorenzo Lamas), who assures him that Craig has died. Chris receives
further evidence--his brother's dog tags--from one of his brother's old associates, Sandra Ross (Jennifer Runyon), but he's still not convinced.
Returning to a waiting taxi, he tells the driver, Gilad (Gabi Amrani), to take him to a nearby hotel, but on the way, he has a strange feeling as he passes a certain building and tells Gilad to stop. Venturing inside, he discovers a room where, in fact, Craig was kidnapped and his female contact
shot by the Kalishmulad; the informant who's just revealed this information jumps Chris, who manages to kill his attacker.
At his hotel, Chris is arrested for the murder and thrown in jail, where Charlie informs him that he can make a clean getaway if he takes a plane scheduled to leave in two hours. But Gilad, who has taking a liking to Chris, bails him out first. Upon returning to the hotel, however, Chris is
grabbed by the terrorists and taken to their secret base. There, Chris finds that Craig is still alive, but badly beaten, along with several other hostages. The terrorists' leader, Abdel (Alon Abootbool), is pleased to see Chris captured; taking his picture, Abdel plans to use it to convince the
US that Craig is alive and well, and ransom him for the release of Lebanese prisoners in other countries.
Some of THE KILLING STREETS' conceits are pretty implausible, most notably the idea that Chris, a high-school basketball coach from Dayton, Ohio, could become an ace man of action when confronted by life-threatening situations. A better actor might have made Chris's exploits more convincing, but
Michael Pare walks through the part, behaving as if he's had plenty of experience in knife fights and raiding terrorist fortresses. Lamas's character is one-note as well (and Lamas performs it with an inexplicable Texas accent), and Jennifer Runyon's role is a token one, being there to serve the
two traditional functions of women in action films: to bed down the hero and to be taken hostage during the climax.
There are a few compensations, though. A couple of the supporting performances are enjoyable, particularly Gabi Amrani as the jovial taxi driver who's willing to help Chris out of various scrapes. Director and co-screenwriter Stephen Cornwell's action scenes, while not especially fresh, are put
together professionally, with a fairly rousing car chase when Charlie pursues Gilad's cab. But for the most part, nothing about KILLING STREETS inspires surprise that it went directly to video. (Violence, sexual situations, profanity.)
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: R
- Review: Coming off as an attempt to combine a serious political thriller with a gung-ho, RAMBO-style action film, KILLING STREETS ends up too simplistic to succeed as the former and not spectacular or inventive enough to satisfy as the latter. While working on a… (more)