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The Set Up (1995)

 -  Action | Drama | Thriller  -  23 July 1995 (USA)
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Ratings: 4.6/10 from 351 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 3 critic

Charlie Thorpe, a security systems expert, gets caught during a robbery. When he is released from jail he is hired by a bank owner to design a fool proof system during the refurbishing of a... See full summary »

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Title: The Set Up (1995)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Leon (as Tiny 'Zeus' Lister)
Lisa Collins ...
Vince Deadrick Jr. ...
Julia (as Paula Coburn)
Cop #1
Brent Morris ...
Cop #2
Tom Muzila ...


Charlie Thorpe, a security systems expert, gets caught during a robbery. When he is released from jail he is hired by a bank owner to design a fool proof system during the refurbishing of a bank. But shortly after it's finished he is blackmailed into cracking the security. Written by Brian W Martz <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality and violent action, and for language | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 July 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Set Up  »

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User Reviews

By-the-Numbers Neo-Noir
17 May 2010 | by (nashville, tn) – See all my reviews

Billy Zane is a paroled jewel thief, an expert in high-tech security systems. His last caper went terribly wrong, costing his wife and partner in crime her life and landing him in prison for six years.

Resolved to stay on the straight and narrow, he's been hired by James Coburn to design an impenetrable system for Coburn's new bank. Zane becomes romantically involved with Coburn's ex-mistress, Mia Sara. After the bank opens, she's kidnapped by James Russo and his gang of thugs, who threaten to kill her unless Zane can figure out a way to get around his own system.

There's enough acting talent here to carry this thing along -- but just barely. James Coburn -- well, need I say more? Zane can do noir, if you give him the right material, as he would show two years later in "This World ... Then the Fireworks".

Unfortunately, there's something sadly missing here: Perhaps it's the lackadaisical direction or the story itself, but either way, none of the characters are particularly original or interesting. You know who's the femme fatale from the beginning, so her betrayal doesn't have much dramatic or emotional impact. And Russo plays exactly the same sort of hair-triggered heavy he's played a dozen times before.

The heist itself should be the centerpiece of this kind of film, especially when you make such a big deal out of your protagonist's sooper-dooper security system. But the sequence is surprisingly humdrum and listless.

And that's about the only surprise you'll get in this movie. Even when a story makes use of well-worn noir conventions, it can still be a fun ride if it's done with style and a bit of imagination. Don't look for them here, though. "The Set-Up" has a few good moments, but I doubt if it's going to show up on anybody's list of great neo-noirs.

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