Sam Dietz is back and must find and stop another serial killer before he kills again. Detective work for Dietz is tough having to juggle two gorgeous women - one his partner, and the other his shrink, who holds the key to the case.
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The fourth Relentless movie has Detective Sam Dietz (Leo Rossi) investigating a series of ritual murders committed by another L.A. serial killer. The only clue linking the victims is that all of them were in the services of a shady and unconventional therapist named Dr. Sara Lee Jaffee (Famke Janssen) who may know a lot more than what she is telling. Dietz and his new detective partner, Jessica Parreti (Colleen Coffey), think there is a link between Dr. Jaffee's therapy sessions and the murder victims when they learn that all of them had a near-death experience in the past. On the home front, the recently widowed Dietz struggles to raise his teenage son, Cory (Christopher Pettiet), on his own and deals with the troubled teenager slacking off in school, abusing drugs, and carousing with a local and similarly troubled teen girl. Written by
It's easy to see why Famke Janssen is such a terrific actress, and has a loyal set of fans - not only the compassion she gives her characters, but right from the beginning she was, and is, a glamorous and talented actress, as seen in this, one of her earliest performances as Dr. Sara Lee Jaffee in "Relentless IV: Ashes to Ashes".
Never having seen the first three "Relentless" films is not an issue if you watch this film before the others (or don't even bother with the others), as the films are linked (as far as I can tell, after all, I've only watched #4) by Detective Sam Dietz. In "Relentless IV: Ashes to Ashes", Dietz and fellow detective Jessica Parretti get involved in a homicide case which leads them to Dr. Sara Lee Jaffee, a psychologist who has an (off screen) history with Dietz. From here on in, a bizarre series of events follows as Dietz and Parretti try to solve the case, while Dietz also deals with his now teenage son who is doing some growing up. As the plot thickens and Dr. Jaffee's connections to the murderer are revealed, the final climatic showdown is a thrilling and tense tear-jerker.
While "Ashes to Ashes" (which gets its name from the climatic finale) is a great, often quirky, film, it is certainly not without it's faults. The production values seem quite low, and there is a Telemovie quality about it. Also, Leo Rossi isn't the most appealing of all heroes. He seems to rely more on his comic skills, which at times are just not funny, although perhaps those who have seen the previous three films might be able to appreciate his character more. Colleen Coffery is undervalued as Jessica Parretti, but she has some good moments. Christopher Petit (RIP) takes over the role of Dietz's teenage son, Corey, and hottie John Meyers has a small role as a murder suspect.
But of course it is Famke Janssen who is the real reason anyone would watch "Relentless IV: Ashes to Ashes" as she proves why she has always been such a terrific actress, even in her early films. Her character of Dr. Sara Lee Jaffee may not be as high-profile as Jean Grey or Xenia Onatop, but she is a fun character, and the ending is very sad. For fans of Famke in particular, "Ashes to Ashes" is certainly worth a watch.
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