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I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I thought it was a clever premise with interesting, off-beat characters. An "A" B-movie. The pacing is relentless; the action set-pieces are uniquely thrilling; the dialogue crisp and witty; and Richard Gibbs score is perfectly haunting. Joan Chen is a great villainess and has all the best lines. All in all: a small gem, a rousing thrill-ride with lots of surprises.
I have to admit that the pairing of Rutger Hauer (at 47, chubby,
charming, and, unfortunately, locked into 'B' movies) and Mimi Rogers
(at 35, gloriously sexy, and about to appear her most controversial
film, THE RAPTURE) is the best aspect of this light but entertaining
'heist/chase' flick, set in the near future, which is aired as both
WEDLOCK and DEADLOCK.
The premise is basic; a non-violent jewel thief, Frank Warren (Hauer) teams with his fiancé (a hyperactive Joan Chen) and best friend (sadistic James Remar) to break into several safety deposit boxes at a high-security bank, stealing, among other goodies, $25 million in diamonds. Despite Remar's tripping the bank's alarms, Hauer manages to escape and stash the diamonds...only to be betrayed, and shot, at the rendezvous point, by his partners (who must have been pretty remorseful when they discovered the diamonds weren't on him!)
Flashforward to Warren's arrival at Camp Holliday, a prison that utilizes explosive-filled 'wedlock collars' (a la THE RUNNING MAN) to maintain order. Each wearer has an unknown 'partner', and if they are separated by more than 100 yards, Ka-BOOM!, two headless prisoners. The genial Warden Holliday (Stephen Tobolowsky) brags of his 'perfect' record, but takes an immediate interest in the welfare of Warren (prison name, Magenta), and more importantly, his (as yet undiscovered) stash of diamonds.
When sexy convict 'Ivory' (Rogers) informs Warren that she is his wedlock 'partner', he is justifiably skeptical, but the pair manage to escape Camp Holliday, heads intact, and are soon on the run from Holliday, the police, and Warren's ex-partners...while still wearing the bombs around their necks.
Is Ivory actually Holliday's pawn? What is her purpose for escaping THIS weekend? Will Warren's ex-partners capture and torture them to recover the diamonds? And, most importantly, how long will we have to wait before Warren and Ivory admit their mutual attraction, and find a way to rid themselves of their collars?
With some genuinely funny moments, a tongue-in-cheek approach to the fairly standard plot elements, and, best of all, Hauer and Rogers' easy chemistry together, WEDLOCK is more enjoyable than you might expect.
While it isn't BLADE RUNNER, it isn't BATTLEFIELD EARTH, either!
Rutger Hauer's movies tend to be better than one would expect from genre pieces, often because of a special feel for atmosphere and quirk. Deadlock was one of the first movies to feature the newer, heavier Hauer, who uses his heft to the advantage of his characterization, creating a slightly ridiculous figure (who goes from a ludicrous pony-tail for his duel-to-the-death to a sort of swami outfit to something that looks like it ought to be upholstering a chair in a whorehouse) who is not quite up to the circumstances he finds himself in, but perseveres anyway. Smart, but hardly a criminal mastermind, his Frank is teamed with an especially charming Mimi Rogers. Hardly surprising that they go from insults to clinches, but it is appealing that the main thing keeping them apart (their abysmal track records in romance) is what, thanks to empathy, helps bridge the differences between them. The sci-fi gimmick here is really beside the point. What counts is the presence of several skillful actors and their deftly drawn characters. Stephen Tobolowsky is especially amusing, and he has the movie's best line: "You nonconformists are all alike."
Well, it doesn't break any boundaries or try to be anything
particularly special, but Wedlock takes influence from films such as
The Running Man and ends up with a fun and entertaining little
thriller. As you would expect, the film offers little in the way of
surprises; so it's a good job that getting from A to B is fun to watch.
The film's main gimmick is the idea of a futuristic prison in which the
inmates have to wear collars. This ensures that all the prisoners are
constantly watching each other, as if your collar gets one hundred
yards away from your partner's collar - both your heads explode!
Naturally, no one knows who is whose partner, so the prison is pretty
secure (I can't be the only one who thinks this could work in REAL
prisons...). The film focuses on Frank Warren; a would-be robber who is
double crossed by his girlfriend and ends up in the futuristic jail.
Before getting double-crossed, our hero was smart enough to hide the
diamonds that he stole. The head of the jail wants these gems for
himself, and after Frank and his partner escape from the prison - a
game of cat and mouse ensues.
The film relies a lot on it's lead star Rutger Hauer, and while this isn't his best performance of all time; it's suitably different from his more popular roles (Blade Runner, The Hitcher), and he makes for an offbeat action hero. He is joined by Mimi Rogers, who is good in support; as well as Stephen Tobolowsky, who steals every scene he's in. The action doesn't come thick and fast; but Wedlock benefits from this, as the action is good when it comes and the scenes between the lead characters are always interesting enough to keep the film worth watching. Standout scenes include a bus chase and obligatory exploding head scene. The title is something of a metaphor for our lead character, as his luck with women isn't exactly enviable, and the way that the collars lock the two main characters together makes for some interesting drama. The main problem with the plotting is that it constantly hints at what's going to come next; and even the central twist isn't all that shocking when it comes about. However, if you go into Wedlock expecting just good entertainment; it's a lot of fun, and therefore comes recommended to B-movie fans!
DEADLOCK (1992 - MADE FOR CABLE TV) **1/2 Rutger Hauer, Mimi Rogers,
Joan Chen, James Remar, Stephen Tobolosky.
Pretty good futuristic action/crime story with prisoners (Hauer and Rogers, make a fine couple) fitted with collars that can cause their heads to be blown off (a la Schwarzenegger's "The Running Man") as they pursue their double-partners in crime. Best scene : after days of solitude the greedy warden, wanting to know where Hauer has hidden some stolen loot, opens a door where Hauser - up to his neck in water - tells him: "North Pole...ask for Santa" and laughs maniacally.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Recap: Part of a trio that is supposed to rob a jewelry mart for 25
million dollars worth in diamonds, Frank discovers that he has been had
as his partners turn on him after the job. The only that saves him is
that Frank has hidden the diamonds. Unfortunately for his partners
Frank get sent to a prison where a new system is being tested. Each
prisoner get a necklace with explosives in it, and each prisoner is
paired up with another, unknown to them, prisoner. If more than 100
yards separate the necklaces, they both blow up. If the prisoners stay
within the prison grounds they will be fine. However, Frank's diamonds
are of great interest, to everyone. His ex-partners wants them, inmates
want them and the warden wants them bad...
Comments: Not the greatest movie ever seen, but not bad either. But you need to get your expectations right. Basically it is in two parts, one prison part and one fugitive part. Neither part is special but contains your basic parts in the genre. Fighting inmates and gangs in the prison, car chase and police in the fugitive part. Nothing new really.
What I had expected more of is the Sci-fi part. I had imagined that it was set in the future with lots of change in society. It seems that the budget didn't cover more than the necklaces though, as they are the only things that doesn't exist now (or in the early nineties).
However, lacking in some parts, and nothing new in others, this movie is not bad. Not bad at all. Not if you like typical Hauer movies anyway.
What has it got then? Some decent action, actually. And even if the movie is quite predictable the suspense isn't bad either. The story is a little thin but you don't ever feel a need to worry about that. Simply put, this is good entertainment a lonely evening.
I enjoyed this movie, but then I always enjoy a good Rutger Hauer movie, or even a bad one for that matter. This movie has him as a convict in a prison who was betrayed by his girlfriend and by his buddy during a heist. He is sent to this weird prison though that is quite different from most. Here there is a mix of male and female prisoners...they even get to have a night a week they can get together. Water must be conserved, and the prisoners all get cute collars which are linked up to another prisoner and if these two get to separated they explode taking off the wearers head. Yes, only mild differences to be found here, eh? So after awhile at the prison, our hero ends up escaping said prison and must do certain things in order to find the loot that was hid and to keep themselves together or their heads are going to be blown off! So you get your differing ways for them to get separated and at times they have to get creative in keeping together. The flow of the movie is rather fast, and the ending to me was just perfect. Though one has to wonder if the exploding collar idea came from an earlier science fiction action movie "The Running Man"?
Wedlock is a movie in the good 1980ies tradition where drama, fun and
thrill were intertwined. Although the ending can be considered
predictable, lots of twists and turns during the movie do not let the
tension diminish. Of course, Rutger Hauer and Mimi Rogers exploit also
their talent in making the movie enjoyable (however, other actors are
not bad either).
The movie is definitely recommended to them who like to spend some 1h 40 minutes in a thrilling yet not oppressive atmosphere. And last but not least: the movies with Rutger Hauer's participation are usually worth watching - and Wedlock is no exception.
'Sometime in the future' (probably 1997), an electronics whiz gone bad
named Frank (Rutger Hauer) was f*cked over by his partners in crime and
sent to a revolutionary new prison. The hook of the new prison is that
there are no walls or draconian confinement measures, prisoners wander
around as they please. But each prisoner wears a bulky electronic
collar this explodes if someone attempts to remove it. Furthermore each
prisoner is linked to another unknown prisoner in the facility, and if
they move more than 100 yards apart *BOOOM!!!*, both collars explode
and you can cancel the hat shopping trip.
Bad luck I guess if your partner decides suicide is the solution
Of course Frank manages to uncover the identity of his collar-buddy and the two escape, spending an hour or so coming perilously close to breaching the 100 yard boundary and going pop. To complicate matters the prison warden wants Frank for more than escaping, he wants to get his paws on the 25M he and his fellow crims managed to get away with, crims that by the way are back on the scene and want to talk to Frank for themselves for some reason.
Hauer actually gets to be a little sarcastic and dare I say salty with his dialogue in this film. Given the fact that it was always going to be a one note straight to VHS flick he hams it up merrily in some scenes, most notably when the warden initially hits him up for the diamonds. Rutger was never really very good at comedy, but at least he tries here.
Wedlock is actually quite solidly plotted in the early going. The initial robbery is well thought out and creative, and they obviously spent a bit of time fine tuning the details in the prison where other films might've said 'we thought of the exploding collars, that'll do'.
The relationship between Frank and fellow escapee played by Mimi Rogers is forced and arbitrary as is to be expected in a B film where actual chemistry is less a priority than finding someone they could afford and the supporting cast of fellow 80s and 90s bitzers only serve to further highlight the low budget nature of the film.
Final Rating 5.5 / 10. Wedlock will definitely not demand a spot in your DVD collection, but 20 years or so since release it still justifies the hour and a half of your time.
I love Rutger Hauer. He is a cool and funny actor that isn't afraid to
get his hands wet and try anything out of the ordinary.
Wedlock isn't one of his stranger ones, but it is definitely one of his best!
Set in the near future, Rutger joins Mimi Rodgers at a new top security prison that straps bombs to prisoners necks (much like Battle Royale) so they can't escape.
Each prisoner is 'wedlocked' to another so that if one blows, the other soon follows!
With Mimi by his side, Rutger and co-star go on an adventure that sends them in search of the object that got him imprisoned in the first place... $25 million worth of diamonds.
With the bad guys hot on the heels, things start to go a little 'Fletch' at times with some great action scenes, hilarious one liners and more.
The film is great entertainment and one I had wished I watched earlier!
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