Monday, September 24, 2012

Striking Distance (1993)

Sometimes you come across a movie that you know is bad, no doubt about it, but you end up getting a kick out of it anyway.  Striking Distance is one of those times as Bruce Willis plays Tom Hardy, one of Pittsburgh's finest who has just ratted out his partner and cousin for excessive force.  While chatting about it with his father (played by John Mahoney) on the way to a ball, a call comes in that a serial killer has been spotted nearby.  A great car chase ensues (one that manages to cover the entire Pittsburgh area though not intentionally) but the killer gets away and Tom's father is killed.

Tom's partner, Jimmy (Robert Pastorelli) no-shows the sentencing and next thing you know he's on a bridge with his father (the great Dennis Farina) and brother (the somewhat less great Tom Sizemore) trying to talk him down.  Tom shows up as well buy Jimmy ends up jumping.

Cut to two years later as Hardy has been given a job with the city's river rescue squad (I have it on good authority from a buddy of mine that Pittsburgh doesn't have this) after announcing his belief that the killer was a cop (based on his driving technique and other things) and assigned a token female partner played by Sarah Jessica Parker.  Bodies start turning up, apparently intended for Hardy to find and our hero comes to believe the serial killer from two years ago is at it again, now targeting women he knows in an attempt to frame him...I think.

Striking Distance is a tired, predictable movie with way too much plot (pretty much everyone but Bruce Willis has an ulterior motive for their actions), a killer whose identity is quite obvious if you look close during the opening scene and some laugh out loud moments.  And for the record, this was not intended to be a comedy.

In spite of this, I do find the movie reasonably entertaining as the first half is actually pretty amusing, though the second half drags until the last fifteen minutes.  The car chase at the beginning is really good though from a geographic standpoint it's hilarious since every other shot is in an entirely different location; the cast is good-Willis and Farina are their usual solid selves and Brion James is just hysterically bad as the typical aggressive jerk detective who has a beef with Hardy that manifests itself in some really, really bad acting.  I love the guy and wish he was still around but man is he bad in this one!

Tom Sizemore and Parker are just sort of there and Robert Pastorelli is...Well, he's pretty incoherent the few scenes he has since he tends to sound like he's got a mouth full of food any time he talks.

The film is a maze of twists and turns and director Rowdy Herrington (his Road House is so much better than this) does what he can and the finale is decent enough but in the end it's just a mess.  A sort of fun for all the wrong reasons mess, but still a mess.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.