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William A. Graham
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Los Angeles resident Paul gets a video camera for his birthday. And after the festivities are over, he gets something else: bad news from his girlfriend Katy. She wants to leave him because he won't commit, and she wants children and he says they can't afford children. If he really wanted them, she says, they could find a way.
Paul wakes up in the middle of the night (despite the movie's title, it's actually closer to morning) and hears cops arresting a suspect. Seeing what looks like the Rodney King incident outside his window, he takes that video camera and makes a record of the incident. One of the cops looks up and sees him, and Paul and Katy have to start running. Amazingly, they have time to put their clothes on before the cops arrive to keep them from getting away with the tape.
Since the situation gets even worse for the poor suspect, and since Officer Garland has been accused of brutality in the past, the poor couple find themselves in even more danger. Katy has a reporter friend named Jason (apparently an ex, from Paul's reaction), and that's who she believes should get the tape.
Meanwhile, the captain in charge of the rogue officers wants to find out what happened to the suspect. Everyone denies what he suspects, though Officer Patterson seems most likely to be persuaded to tell the truth. Garland reminds him what cops do to those who don't go along with 'the code', though. If you wonder how Garland ended up being so creepy, you need look no further than his domineering mother.
Helping Paul and Katy when they are on the run are a wacko named Lance and his pregnant girlfriend (or perhaps wife). Lance's sister Molly seems to be a hooker or an exotic dancer, but she is nice to the couple despite everything. Eventually, Katy and Paul hope to reach Katy's mother's house. In Las Vegas.
This was exciting, though somewhat too violent for my taste. There are several unnecessary killings (why does that have to be the only solution in so many of these movies?). As far as acting skills go, I would single out Andy Romano as the determined Captain, Jan-Michael Vincent as the crazy Lance, and Lenore Andriel in a brief appearance as Lance's sister. I'm not sure, but Maxwell Caulfield probably gave us an enjoyably sinister performance. Let's say he didn't appeal to me personally. And while his rear end was blurry on my TV, I certainly didn't want to see it.
And Mark Pelligrino had quite a struggle as Officer Patterson--his grandfather was a cop for many years. His father was a cop. You don't rat on your fellow officers.
I was happy as long as Paul and Katy were on the run, but whenever they started discussing the problems with their relationship--oh, PLEASE. But adversity sometimes brings a couple closer together.
I'm not saying this was one of the great action films. But if you have no real expectations and don't compare it to others ... not bad, really.
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