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USA 1986
Directed by
Robert Mandel
107 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2 stars


During the 80s Bryan Brown had a crack at Hollywood and this now rather dated thriller was about as good as it got for him. He plays Rollie Tyler, a whiz special effects guy who takes a job for the NYC Justice Department to fake the death of a Mob boss (Jerry Orbach) only to find that he’s been trapped in an elaborate set-up.

Even if you accept the film's improbable premiss you’re still going to find it difficult to give yourself up to the heavy-handedness of Mandel’s direction and the script which aside from plot twists offers little. Although Orbach and Brian Dennehy as a tough-but-honest cop lend some measure of quality to the film everything about it otherwise is as prosaic and hammy as only the 80s could be (including another hammy Bill Conti score). It feels as if there wasn’t enough budget to make the film as good as it aspired to be (there is one unintentionally funny scene with five cops jammed into a disproportionately small office) but too much to keep it lean, resulting in a lot of gratuitous footage and, particularly with the final section ludicrously unconvincing plotting.  Brown, whose Australian accent tends to grate even in his home-grown films does a decent job but feels awkward in rolewhich hardly suits his more Crocodile Dundee-ish persona.

There is, however, a solid market (or at least there was in 80s) for these kind of cheesy, B-grade thrillers (no doubt  the same audience that watches the style of gory horror films that Tyler works on) and the film was a reasonable box-office success, so much so that it was followed by a 1991 sequel directed by Australian director Richard Franklin.

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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