A drug dealer shoots a corrupt police officer. Though the drug dealer admits his guilt, he pleads self-defense. His lawyer, Roland Dalton, and a "blue jean cop", Richie Marks, pursue evidence in his favor. They encounter difficulties from other corrupt police officers, drug dealers, and various street scum. Dalton's life is further complicated by the fact that the prosecuting attorney is a former lover. Written by
Melissa Portell <email@example.com>
From James Glickenhaus, director of "The Exterminator", comes this buddy flick that proves that you don't have to reinvent the wheel in order to make a solid action flick. Its characters are always watchable and its action scenes are expertly done. Glickenhaus's script is on the routine side but his execution helps to make up for that.
Peter Weller plays Roland Dalton, a public defender who takes the case of a drug dealer (Richard Brooks) who shot an undercover cop - but who apparently did it in self defense. Teaming up with a maverick detective played by Sam Elliott, he finds that the case leads to revelations about corruption in the NYC police department.
It's nice to see Weller looking like he's really having fun, and Elliott is likewise quite engaging. Weller strikes some sparks with Patricia Charbonneau, who plays a district attorney who just so happens to be an old girlfriend of Daltons'. It doesn't take long for him to submit to her charms even though he's already engaged to be married (to Gail Feinberger, played by Blanche Baker). Antonio Fargas is smooth as ever as big shot criminal Nicky Carr; Brooks and Larry Joshua are good in their supporting roles. While watching, the viewer can have a busy time playing spot the familiar face: Thomas G. Waites, Shirley Stoler, John C. McGinley, Jude Ciccolella, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Kelly Rutherford, Paul Bartel, James Eckhouse, David Proval, Harold Perrineau, William Prince and Holt McCallany all turn up.
Ultimately, this does get silly, and it doesn't tie up its loose ends well, but it's so well paced, and so undeniably exciting at times, that it sizes up as a good time for action aficionados. Among the highlights are a chase / fight Elliott has with a street thug that finishes nicely with a runaway roller coaster moment. It's also good for a look at 42nd Street when it was still in its decadent period.
Look for a theatre marquee displaying "Fatal Beauty", which also featured Elliott; a previous Glickenhaus picture, "The Soldier", can be seen playing on a movie screen.
Seven out of 10.
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