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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Not Gritty Enough For Mike Hammer, But Fine For TV.

6/10
Author: FiendishDramaturgy from .: Fiendish Writings in the Dark :.
16 March 2007

The only problem with this movie series was the Made4TV factor. Mike Hammer was a rough-n-ready detective, much like the old Cannon series cross-bred with Sherlock Holmes, with a little New Yorker thrown in for good measure. The M4TV movies just couldn't do all that and still get the general audience clearing they needed for their time slot. They are therefore, lacking in edgy toughness needed to perpetrate a full on assault of the senses one would expect from this franchise.

Stacy Keach, however, is the epitome of perfect casting. He was the absolute best actor for this role. I always enjoy these movies, regardless of their downfalls.

This one rates a 6.4/10 on the M4TV scale from...

the Fiend :.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Basic, distracting stuff that is like a poor photocopy of countless better films

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
25 October 2006

Mike Hammer turns down an offer of work from Johnny Roman because it involves him travelling up into Las Vegas – which he doesn't "do" being a New York kinda guy. However when someone snatches him off the street he wakes up in a plane just in time to be thrown out of it. Luckily for him they have put him in a parachute and, when he lands, he finds himself in Vegas. Johnny Roman denies it was him that brought him but explains what he wants him to do – but Hammer still refuses. Within hours, Roman is murdered on live TV and planted evidence leaves the police in no doubt that Hammer did it. Out on bail, Hammer has no choice but to clear his name but finds himself drawn into more murder and mystery than he knows what to deal with.

I've not watched any of this film series but I quite like the detective genre and decided to try this out. In a way it works reasonably well but the one think you need to accept is that this TV movie will constantly remind you of better films and books and, at the end of the day, it is very much like a copy of genre staples. The plot is easy to follow but alludes to the complexity that the genre likes; at times it starts to get a bit tiresome as it throws obvious red herrings out to fill time but it is still engaging enough fare. The direction is very "TV" and the whole thing does demonstrate a limited budget throughout. Those looking for more than daytime TV stuff should avoid but it does just about distract on that level.

Matching the low-budget feel of the sets and script, the performances have the same sort of limitations. Keach walks around like a bear with a sore head in a character that countless others have done better. His narration is like a bad impression and his delivery isn't that better. The rest of the cast don't add much either. Carter isn't that convincing as the femme fatale type of character and everyone else sort of ticks the genre boxes but never rises above TV movie level – the only one of interest is Jim Carrey in a "before they were famous" moment.

Overall then a very basic entry in the genre. Those happy to operate at the level of daytime TV movie and who like the genre should find this distracting. However it is hard to ignore that the whole thing is like a poor photocopy in every regard – you can see everything, it is all just fuzzy and of a low quality.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

This could easily have been rated a 7 or 8.

5/10
Author: Jakeroo
19 December 2003

Instead I rated it a 5 because of the loose ends. Lots of twists to the plot just as one would expect with Mike Hammer. But I like my endings tied up neatly and this film doesn't even explain why Hammer was parachuted into Vegas or why that was the only way to get him there.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

I Didn't Understand Anything (and That's Really The Point, Isn't It ?!)

Author: ahmed elshikh (ahmed_abd_elreheem@yahoo.com) from Egypt
22 October 2008

So (Stacy Keach) dressed up as the 1940s' most stylish detectives (in the end of the 1980s ?!) and went through a living hell of murders, betrayals, backstabbing, where the truth had too many faces to the extent that you couldn't (or shouldn't) recognize it !

As a TV stuff and fluff, this movie got it all. It sets you successfully on your seat to end any voice for your thinking. Don't you get smart and try to find out anything. It had been manufactured to give you nothing but loss of time under the name of crime movie in the old fashion way yet weaker (but again and again who cares or should care ?). It might give you a chance to meditate on : life as assured ride of endlessly unstoppable decay, the certain stubbornness, violence, and criminality that you need to get through it, and also what a policy for producing TV movies that could be to make absolute pastime out of dallying with the American legacy of noir novels and films.

However, the shameless confusion that they cleverly made here would give you the tedium. The sequences run on the screen successively extremely forcedly non-understandable, so it might push you to call the whole thing off if you're a fan of the genre or not !. Your intelligence all the time needs a fine long apology that you'll never get, as torrents of surprises, twists, or even totally gratis ambiguous situations continue. The determination to be darkly dark could effect ridiculously on you. It seems like strange competition concerning Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe cases, which challenges you : can you catch on anything ? In fact it had the ability to make you ask not who the criminal is, but what the crime was ?!!

Though, don't deny that it has : nice moody music; (Harlem Nocturne) got me every time. The lion presence of (Stacy Keach), with a few memorable moments. Sharp funny lines (the computer will do every thing the secretaries do !?/ forgive him he's only 12 !), (I'm a boxer/ Yeah, but I didn't know you while you're standing !), or (don't trust in sands where there is no bikini !), some things like that. The colorful atmosphere is like most of the works at the 1980s : soft and vivid (despite that this is so dark noir !). With some of the 1980s' fine beauties as well. And originally that script which boldly presented chain of the most distracting unattached crimes in such a loyalty and fast speed that brilliantly made you wholly incapable of tracking down anything, as well as contributed in clearing the meaning of the word "illogical" in the dictionary of the genre as : diverting diversion.

It was childishly entreating to see and follow (Keach) as the steel (Hammer) in the 1940s' looks and the 1980s' world (albeit the modern equipments are scarcely being in cadre), traveling into future like that was, despite any logical objection, a distinct joy (Only in the 1980s !). Although the complete entertainment here wasn't complete but sure this kind of weird touches and atmosphere could at least attract a particular audience to fulfill certain dreams. The movie's personality was exhausted out of its heavy ironies and oddities but that's the point I suppose, Murder Takes All, and movie to murder all.. of your thinking for 90 minutes.

It is generally a kind-of-its-own classic ! As the pulp TV, and at its perfect "too much" condition too. So, don't strain your brain, it's brainless.

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