Ex-patriate Australian writer/director Philipe Mora may not exactly be a household name, but he has had one of the oddest careers of any movie maker I can think of. If I knew nothing about his work, or his background as an artist and experimental film maker, I would automatically dismiss 'Art Deco Detective' as worthless and leave it at that. But obviously there's more to this movie than meets the eye. It's supposed to be some kind of conceptual joke. Unfortunately the concepts are asinine and the jokes aren't funny!
Mora semi-regular John Dennis Johnston (Verhoeven's 'Flesh & Blood') plays movie-buff detective Arthur Decowitz, hence the Art Deco of the title. He finds himself emeshed in a convoluted plot to capture Hyena (Stephen McHattie - 'The Ultimate Warrior'), a psychopathic serial killer posing as an Islamic terrorist who is attempting to nuke LA and therefore resume the Cold War. (Yep, that's what it says). Deco must keep his wits about him as he finds himself duped, misled and double-crossed by a variety of femme fatales, his cop buddy Detective Lean (Joe Santos of 'Rockford Files' fame), an English porno movie director (Mel Smith of 'Alas Smith And Jones'), and the Machiavellian Government agent Wexler. (Mora's favourite and b-grade legend, the late Brion James).
Whether you'll even bother trying to keep up with the contrived twists and turns of this idiotic noir homage, depends on how much of a masochist you are. To make matters even worse the LOOK of this movie is one of the most aesthetically displeasing I've seen in a long while. It appears to be shot entirely on cheap videotape. Why is anybody's guess. The only reason to endure this mess is if you are a fanatical Brion James fan. Listening to him spout lines like "You are more than two tacos short of a combination plate" and "Very touching. If I had tear ducts I think I'd cry. Unfortunately the other side pulled them out during the Korean war" is the closest thing you'll get to entertainment on offer here. One to miss!
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