Coming from a police family, Tom Hardy ends up fighting his uncle after the murder of his father. Tom believes the killer is another cop, and goes on the record with his allegations. Demoted then to river duty, the killer taunts Tom.
An aging alcoholic cop is assigned the task of escorting a witness from police custody to a courthouse 16 blocks away. There are, however, chaotic forces at work that prevent them from making it in one piece.
A color-blind psychiatrist Bill Capa is stalked by an unknown killer after taking over his murdered friend's therapy group, all of whom have a connection to a mysterious young woman that Capa begins having intense sexual encounters with.
When a family is held hostage, former hostage negotiator Jeff Talley arrives at the scene. Talley's own family is kidnapped and Talley must decide which is more important: saving a family he doesn't even know or saving his own family.
Serena Scott Thomas
A serial killer is back in Pittsburgh to torment the former homicide detective who was on his trail years before. Tom Hardy, who has been relegated to water-way duty, along with new partner Jo Christman, navigate the three rivers looking for clues and discovering bodies. This time the victims are women Tom knows, he must find the killer to prove his innocence. Written by
Released in 1993, Bruce Willis' "Striking Distance" has a bad reputation. Roger Ebert tore it to pieces, basically saying it was too derivative and by-the-numbers, and Willis himself said he hated it. After finally seeing it I can understand criticism to a point. The story has a very melodramatic comic-book vibe, which is obvious in the opening act, almost like a TV production except with a superior cast and action scenes. But -- and this is an important but -- I quickly found myself drawn into the story & the characters and greatly enjoyed the Pittsburgh locations, the (melo)drama and the thrills. In other words, the movie IS entertaining and entertainment is the name of the game.
The story revolves around Tom Hardy (Willis), a Pittsburgh detective who's demoted to police river rescue. A serial killer returns after a two-year absence and bodies of beautiful women start turning up in the river, all women whom Hardy used to date! Sarah Jessica Parker is on hand as Hardy's partner on the river.
This is a cop thriller in the manner of the Dirty Harry series, except more comic booky and taking place in Pittsburgh rather than San Francisco. It's also reminiscent of films like "The General's Daughter." Although not technically as good as the Dirty Harry movies or "The General's Daughter" due to the cartoonishness, "Striking Distance" nevertheless pulled me into the lives of the characters and gave the requisite thrills. As such, I feel it's at least as good as some of the lesser Dirty Harry films.
The generically-named movie was originally called "Three Rivers" -- a much better title simply because it's more specific -- but was changed at the last minute because the marketing department feared people would think it was a sports movie due to Three Rivers Stadium, so they switched it to "Striking Distance." Why? The first hint is at the beginning of the movie when the title card shows two electrical bolts coming out from either side of the title. Later we observe the mysterious killer using a stun gun before killing his victims and, with a stun gun, you must of course be within... striking distance!
Speaking of the killer, one element of the plot I haven't mentioned is that this is a whodunit. Someone is charged with being the killer early on but Hardy knows it's the wrong guy; in fact, he and others are sure it's a cop or ex-cop doing the killings. There are a few suspects, including Hardy himself, but -- I'll be honest with you -- I was unable to guess the right person. There's another twist late in the story that also took me by surprise.
The bottom line is that "Striking Distance" is a cop thriller that effectively entertains and that's what's most important when it comes to these types of movies. Plus it was shot in Pittsburgh, a refreshing change.
The film runs 102 minutes.
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