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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Exciting but not great

Author: vchimpanzee
15 September 2005

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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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

i thought it was an average suspense chase movie

5/10
Author: disdressed12 from Canada
23 March 2007

to me this movie was watchable,but not great.there was some excitement and suspense,but not as much as i had hoped for.the acting is pretty good.the characters were okay,although i thought Jan Michael Vincent's character was very strange and out of place in this movie.the movie didn't always hold my interest and my mind sometimes wandered.the basic plot of the movie is that a man videotapes some crooked police beating another man.the police notice they are being taped.from there,the man and his wife go on the run to escape the crooked cops who want the videotape.as far as this genre of movies goes,this movie is average.if you have nothing better to do,you could do worse.but,like i said there were times when my mind wandered,due to some slow spots.this is certainly not the worst movie of the genre i have ever seen,but not the best either.many people may really enjoy this movie.it just depends on your taste.for me,i give "Midnight Witness" 5/10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Innocent couple goes on the lam after photographing police brutality

5/10
Author: msroz from United States
10 September 2015

"Midnight Witness" (1993), a neo-noir based on police brutality, was written by Peter Foldy prior to the Rodney King incident. The latter allowed him to get the picture made and direct it. It's the kind of story in which an innocent man (Paul Johansson) is forced to go on the run, here accompanied by his live-in girl friend (Karen Moncrieff) just after she has announced that she's leaving him. Johansson has videotaped 4 or 5 policemen brutally beating up a minor drug dealer, the 4th such incident for their leader (Maxwell Caulfield). Caulfield wants to get the tape and frame them. Whom can they turn to when the police themselves stand against them?

Eventually they make their way to Las Vegas and Moncrieff's mother, played by Virginia Mayo, yes, the Virginia Mayo in her penultimate picture. This is after being picked up and tangling with a biker-type (Jan-Michael Vincent) and his pregnant girlfriend. Vincent's sister (Lenore Andriel) helps the fleeing couple out even though Johansson declines her lusty favors. Caulfield, a thoroughly bad and intimidating cop with martial-arts skills, has managed to pick up their trail. But his capacity to put out the fire is waning, as rookie cop Mark Pelligrino appears ready to 'fess up to the honest captain, Andy Romano.

There's plenty of action in this one and a good many twists. Certain of the couple's decisions seem and probably are questionable, but in each instance one can find at least some reason why they decided at they did.

The visuals in this story are not especially noir, but the way in which the police brutality is shown and introduced and the subsequent focus on Caulfield and a string of his abuses of power as he attempts to suppress the couple permanently help explain why this is in the neo-noir category.

American police brutality in 2015 is worse by an order of magnitude than in 1993, making this picture still relevant. The excellent neo-noir Q & A (1990) is another example of neo-noir movies starting to explore the dysfunctions of policing in depth or as a basis for an entire filmed story. One can go back to much earlier examples like "The Racket" (1951) and "Chinatown" (1974) in which police corruption is also present.

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