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Fatal Pursuit is a poorly executed attempt at the erotic thriller genre. While suffering a number of faults it is primarily undermined by it's script.
Gang boss Bechtal (Malcolm McDowell), his moll Giselle (Lydie Dernier) and muscle Franco (Robert Z'Dar) steal $8 million in diamonds in a violent New Orleans kidnapping/robbery. British insurer Pinkrose (Michael Ensign) sends in Jill (Shannon Whirry) to investigate. She is teamed with local "good old boy" private investigator Deghy (L.P. Brown 111) and his sidekick Herbert (Charles Napier). They trace a witness to the crime through bad cops (Larry Manetti as Gersi), good cops (Obba Babatunde as Trindad, Joe Estevez as Morier) and subsequent witness Shelby (Larry Linville). Regarding the latter, Major Frank Burns in the MASH TV series, I should just note that this was his second to last credit before passing away. RIP.
L.P. Brown is believable as a "bad boy" private investigator and, as a co-producer of the movie, seems to have made sure he gets the best one liners. Unfortunately this leaves less for the other characters. This is especially notable with Shannon Whirry, who starts out with a reasonably strong and independent character but, through the script, ebbs into the "girl" in awe of our "hero". Charles Napier looks ready to have some fun, of course with that grin when didn't he look like he was ready for some fun, but the script leaves him nothing to do. Malcolm McDowell career has unfortunately descended into playing villains in B movies. The best that can be said here is that he's energetic, the man can snarl with intensity, but unfortunately that is all the performance entails. Lydie Dernier' s character is described or seen as "on the street" (prostitute?), thief, gangster's moll, killer and tourist shop operator. No wonder she just decided to play it as psycho. Robert Z'Dar has physical presence but isn't called on to do much (acting wise).
Once the romantic antagonism between Deghy and Jill peters out there isn't anything left but the plot. It would be unfair to say there is no plot; there is one and within its own context it is logical. The problem is that the plot is fundamentally stupid. First there is the witness to the jewel theft. Then there is the witness to the death of the first witness. It is nothing but coincidences related to the gangsters' amazing proclivity to leave witnesses. You've just killed a couple of people, stolen $8 million in diamonds and then you just glare at the witness and walk off! As for the erotic I would say that Shannon Whirry' s shower scene more than makes up for the fact that her British accent keeps coming and going. If they had expanded that to ninety minutes and cut the rest of the film we might have to revise our vote to 9 out of 10.
On the positive side the movie has a few good one liners, initial romantic tension between the leads and it moves along. It may make passable viewing for viewers in a non-demanding frame of mind. However I honestly couldn't understand why people just don't rent The Big Easy instead (same ambiance much more successfully executed).
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