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I'd be lying if I didn't admit this is yet another patterned Bruce
Willis flick. The kind where he plays the hard boiled cop with a
colorful past, but I gave it a chance. This one finds Willis as Tom
Hardy. A cop from a family of cops and things aren't going too well.
First off, he's just ratted out his violent partner (Robert Pastorelli)
at an official police inquiry and that doesn't win him any fans in the
department. Then his depressed former partner jumps off a bridge
killing himself. What a load to carry. All of the while there's this
killer on the loose and when his father is murdered by him, he lets it
be known he thinks the killer is a cop and suddenly he's reassigned to
This movie succeeds on a basic level -- it's entertaining. Sure the story is loose and the film's surprises are somewhat stale, but it's all in good fun. Willis gets to look aptly serious and hunt for the killer on the waters and there's just enough suspense to sustain interest and the minor twists of the story keep things at a good pace. Meanwhile the rounded supporting cast keeps things lively and keeps the viewer going, "Where have I seen him before?" or "Hey that's such and such".
I've read on here how people think this is stupid, dumb and lacks any suspense or thrills. Like any of the Die Hard movies had exceptionally smart stories, you didn't know what was gonna happen next or how it would all end. Of course not. For a entry level Bruce Willis flick, this one satisfies. Now if only I could get the Little Red Riding Hood Song out of my mind...!
More than any film I can remember in a long time, I have never understood
why this film hasn't gotten higher ratings than it has. The plot, while not
ingenious (and even somewhat predictable) is still exciting and will keep
The film's creators get a lot of points in my book for locale creativity. Instead of setting the film in some predictable location such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami or San Francisco they set it in Pittsburgh, PA, definitely not your ordinary movie location. It's one that adds a wonderful freshness to the movie however.
The location shooting is outstanding. The scenery is different and excellent, the photography is great, even spectacular in places and the action is on a par with some of the best action films ever, including Bullitt. Who would normally think to expect extensive boating and water action in a state as synonymous with mountains as Pennsylvania is? That alone is worth taking a look at this movie.
I do not usually care much for Bruce Willis. I thought he was very well cast in this movie however and Sara Jessica Parker added extra special chemistry. The cast is much better than average overall and includes such outstanding actors as Andre Braugher, of the outstanding tv series "Homicide". I thought that the casting in general, as well as the photography, location and action very adequately made up for any possible deficiencies in the plot itself.
I would warn that there is extensive foul language in this film, more than is necessary even for a film of this genre in my opinion and probably it's biggest drawback. I would still say that the film is well worth watching when your in the mood for some escapist fun and action fare. As I said earlier, I think the film deserves higher ratings than it's gotten so far. I've watched it twice now (it was just as good the second time, in fact even better) and that definitely won't be the last time I watch it.
I don't understand why this film is so over-looked. It has pretty
everything fans of Bruce Willis would want. He is a cop, not liked by
his fellow officers, and he is on a murder case where no one believes
what he has to say. There is action, swearing, one liners, and even
some sex. Bruce doesn't usually have that in his films, maybe that is
what threw people off. Just Kidding.
By all means, this is no masterpiece, but it is an entertaining mystery with an AWESOME car chase. One of the best. Bruce Willis fans should definitely check this movie out. It is pure Bruce and without him the "lone cop" story wouldn't work as well nor be as credible as it is because of him. 8/10
Rated R: violence and profanity
I caught this one on TV at about midnight, and I wasn't planning to see
more than five minutes of it. I did (why would I write this comment if I
didn't) and it kept my interest through the whole film. Bruce Willis and
Sarah Jessica Parker were excellent together and the supporting cast was
Director Rowdy Herrington also brought us the awful A Murder of Crows (1999), but he didn't ruin this one, even if it did get a little far-fetched in places. An interesting plot line, and Willis is believable in his role.
+ (GOOD THINGS) 1.) Direction 2.) Chemistry between Willis and Parker 3.) Ending (unlike everyone else, I didn't see it coming) 4.) Length 5.) The score 6.) John Mahoney's performance
- (BAD THINGS) 1.) Believability 2.) The script (uneven in places)
I took a chance on this one on a slow night and wish I hadn't bothered. It
started off with some promise and atmosphere, and includes a pretty good car
chase early on. However, it then starts throwing bad cliches that you've
already seen 100 times in all over the place. The troubled cop is haunted by
a past incident and is now a detached loner who drinks far too much. Gee,
how many times have we seen that before? Making matters worse, the final 30
minutes become so implausible, ridiculous, and insulting to the audience's
intelligence, I found myself yelling insults at the director and producer
for their complete and utter lack of imagination.
In short, do yourself a favor and pass on this one. There's bound to be something better to do or watch even on the slowest of nights. If you are tempted to take a peek due to the presence of Bruce Willis or because you like serial killer films in general, do so at your own risk, but don't say you weren't warned!
Great support cast. Dialogue between Farina & Willis is as real as it
gets. Irish vs Italian is always interesting. Needed more of those
scenes. Some cliché movie lines but storyline hides the cheese.
Location, Location, Location. All things being equal, I'd rather be in
Philadelphia (right: Willis from Die Hard). I prefer Philly movies, but
Pittsburgh is a great setting. Not NY. Not LA. I'll take it and it
works. Every other profession has been glammed up by Hollywood so river
police was a refreshing change.
Getting back to the cast, most of them are interchangeable with other actors. But there is no substitute for Dennis Farina as tough cop. He ad libs in his own way as well as Hackman & Matthau. If he's a non-smoker in real life, he should have won an Oscar for this role. This is one of those movies where the pre-quels would be just as action packed. Yeah I know the Episode IV thing has been done before in a galaxy far far away. But these characters would be interesting in their younger years.
Actually watched this on a bus ride home. Found myself entertained for
once! Bruce Willis plays good cop Tom Hardy, who's convinced the police
killed his dad and framed some poor sap. He opens his big mouth too
often and they demote him to river duty! Tom is still on the job and
now he's partnered with sexy diver Jo (Sarah Jessica Parker). They keep
finding dead women and Tom realizes the killer is toying with him!
Tom and Jo hook up, and I actually found their romance quite charming, has SJP ever been bad in anything? She's a really good actress and looks great in this, and try to actually solve the murders, which angers his uncle, played by the underrated Dennis Farina. Even the chief, a ogre of a cop played by the terrific late character actor Brion James, just wants Tom to stay quiet. His cousin Jimmy, I couldn't believe that was Robert Pastorelli, the guy from "Murphy Brown" he was totally dissolved into the part, just seems like a wise-ass, but watch him.
The film is well paced and nicely shot, I liked that the Ohio river seemed smelly like in real life. Willis actually bothers to act here, though I understand he didn't like the film, and you won't see the killer coming.
Striking Distance is a good action flick, with an excellent cast. Its rated "R" for profanity and violence.
A cop receives phone calls wherein he hears the murders of young women
perpetrated by a wily serial killer. Okay, the premise is not new. It
is a bit reminiscent of the Zodiac killer, but only a bit. The truth
is, only a big star like Willis could pull this one out of the $1 bin
and set it upon the eye-level shelves. Fortunately, Willis and Sarah
Jessica Parker manage to do just that.
This film is highly underrated and under-appreciated, and wrongly so. The performances by even the supporting cast (actors who are known for lesser films and lesser performances) are wonderful. No, I'm not trying to say this film is Oscar-worthy, but it IS highly entertaining. It properly generates atmosphere, and delivers upon generation.
All in all? I found this work entertaining and enjoyable.
It rates an 8.3/10 from...
the Fiend :.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm not going to say it's original, because it isn't. I'm not going to
say it's unpredictable, because it isn't. I am going to say that it was
Sure the whole maverick, womanising cop with a bit of an alcohol problem thing is fairly worn out, but still, it works.
Truth be told I actually guessed who the killer was before the end- it was a little obvious. The only real shock was when it was revealed that Sarah Jessica Parker was actually working undercover to 'spy on' Bruce Willis (there was certainly a lot to spy on in some scenes, if you know what I'm saying).
I did say that it wasn't very original. It is in fact stereotypical Bruce Willis. At the same time, however, there is a certain timelessness to stereotypical Bruce Willis films. The one-liners never get annoying, the action is never not exciting, the swearing is never nonexistent and the nudity is always manageable but yet somewhat awkward for a teenager such as myself. It was well-acted, well-shot and a perfectly enjoyable action film.
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
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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