FBI agent Matt Cooper joins police officer Helen Simms in her investigation into a series of hits on criminal types including drug lords and the producers of child pornography. Each hit is timed with clinical precision and carried off with ruthless efficiency. Cooper believes it to be the work of cops, frustrated with the apparent lack of justice in the legal system.
The idea here is one that will be familiar to anyone who watches action movies that go straight to video - the idea of cops taking direct action in `unofficial' units. The idea was also used in Scarred City, Most Wanted and many others come to mind. So it is here and this is acceptable to me as a basic plot. What lets the film down is the delivery and the writing of the film. If all you want is men with guns running around and shouting `go' or making tactical signals with their hands then you will find that this pretty much gives you what you need. However if you are looking for tension, excitement, characters or a script then I'm afraid that this will pretty much leave you annoyed and frustrated for in the midst of all the noise they forgot to include any of these things. The action is noisy but is never really exciting or tense, things go bang, people fall down and that's it - the finale is a fine example, it is just overblown and silly.
The characters lack any meat whatsoever and the film never makes any effort to get the audience to care about any of them - again hurting the chances of creating tension. The worst example is when Helen is killed - there is no feeling in the film and no dignity in her passing. I wanted to care but I found it impossible to give a toss. The film tries to create a John Woo style relationship between Cooper and McInroy but it fails spectacularly - their main meeting is spoilt because we have no idea (and never do) how Cooper has come to assume that it is McInroy doing it. This is also a problem of the script - it makes huge jumps in logic and it just seems to be unconcerned with the many, many holes that are dominant in the film.
The cast is average but the traditional `video action movie' stars are here and they attracted me as all I wanted is noisy action. Rooker is ok, he has a good screen presence and he does better than the material deserves - however you can often see it in his face that he knows he is better than this. Patrick is pretty poor, although you never feel that he is better than this stuff. DiLascio is ok and it was quite bad just how carelessly the film treats her. The rest of the cast are not very good and just sort of try not to be bad, however Kisicki is awful and his wooden delivery of even simple lines would have been funny were it just not plain sad.
The film manages to completely miss any clever writing that would challenge the viewers to support the actions of McInroy - a feat that even other genre films of similar values can achieve even a little bit. However, when the film opens with the slaughter of men with their arms up and women making adult porn (who are shot for making porn with animals - surely they are as much victims as anyone, albeit paid victims?) then it immediately puts the audience on the side of Cooper and never allows for the interesting blurring of morals in the same way that the TV show `The Shield' did. Yet again this is evidence of a script that is lazy and lacks ambition - all it wants to do is make noise, nothing more.
Overall this is a bad film but I'm sure that it will be passable for people who come to it just looking for men running with guns and nothing more. Although, having said that, I came to it just wanting some good action and I went away annoyed with it for failing to deliver any actual excitement, tension or involvement. This is enough but add to that a lazy script, illogical plot, average acting at best and zero characters. A really unengaging and uninspiring film - how low do your expectations need to be in order for this to be enjoyable to you?
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