|Index||4 reviews in total|
Theresa Russell stars as Jackie, a mysterious, beautiful woman who seduces Thomas Hughes ( Adam Baldwin), an unhappily married businessman. I really enjoyed this movie and think it is worth your time when you have nothing else to watch. If you enjoy thrillers this one is worth watching. It seemed more like the series detective Columbo.
The problem I had with this movie was basically very simple - I found the protagonist, played by Adam Baldwin, absolutely loathsome. Now this wouldn't necessarily be a problem... many excellent movies have been made about horrible people. Unfortunately this movie seems to have been constructed firmly on the basis that the audience would identify with this guy and sympathise with the situations he finds himself in. Since this wasn't remotely true for me, the film completed failed to work in my experience. If this guy showed up at my door, I'd slam it in his face. If he sat near me in a public place, I'd change seats to get away from him. Do you remember the movie "A Shock to the System"? Somewhat similar to this movie, in a way... but there Michael Caine succeeded in invoking empathy as the central character, and hence the movie worked. Whereas... well one of the taglines for "Shock to the System" was something about "die yuppie scum" - and that's pretty much how I felt about Adam Baldwin's character in "Trade Off". Theresa Russell is a pleasure to watch... she has a strange, rather flat kind of affect, but I've always enjoyed her work. Unfortunately every single scene she's in also has Baldwin's repulsive yuppie in, thereby effectively ruining it. An unfortunate case where the failure of one character realisation ruins the whole film... which otherwise had some promise (sort of "Strangers on a Train" redone with an erotic relationship between the strangers thrown in, and extra twists).
This was a 1995 Showtime original, not really different from any of those other 'Erotic thriller' direct to video flix you see starring the Shannon Tweeds of the world...Russell here plays a schemer, beds Adam Baldwin, plots to exchange murders-she to kill his wife, him to do her husband, the old 'Strangers on a Train' motif. Nothing esp. original here. Russell in bed is about the whole show-in her lace and garters especially, the cameral lingering for lonng space upon her body, as Adam Baldwin sets to 'work' for the night. These scenes are kinda steamy and done well. But the rest is right outta hackland time. You've seen it all before, a few random, clumsy plot twists, some shootings, fake deaths, etc.-not much is all that convincing or involving. I think that Russell is better than this, but her career seems to have taken a weird turn about the time she started doing things like Track 20, Whore and Physical Evidence in the late 80s-they either stank or tanked or both, and Hollywood wouldn't give her a fair shake afterwards. I give this **-but that's about it. An okay time filler, nothing much more.
You'll realize "Trade-Off" is bad within the opening five minutes: the
flat cinematography, the uninspired dialog with even less inspired
acting, and an oppressive soft porn jazz score. But then Theresa
Russell appears, and from her first line of dialog you know things are
going to get much worse.
I like Theresa Russell. She was the reason I even bothered with this movie. I'll be the first to admit, however, that her screen presence far exceeds her acting abilities. She can turn in a passable performance ("Black Widow," "Impulse," "Thicker Than Water," "Cold Heaven") provided she doesn't try too hard. Unfortunately, she pulls out the stops for her role in "Trade-Off," choosing to adopt a Southern accent. Southern accents are pretty easy to do; they're even easier to overdo, and Russell waaaaay overdoes it here. One would've thought she learned her lesson after "Track 29," though at least in that weird little indie her god-awful accent could be explained away as parody. Not so in this "Strangers on a Train" re-hash. Every time Russell is on screen it's like sitting through a high school production of "A Streetcar Named Desire."
Of course, one wonders why Russell went to the extra trouble to adopt an accent at all. Even direct-to-video erotic thriller queen Shannon Tweed would find "Trade-Off"'s script laughable. The audience has figured out the big twists well ahead of the characters, including a mealy-mouthed investigator (Barry Primus), taking the wind out of the movie's sagging sails. There are some character details (magic tricks learned from an elderly neighbor; religious guilt) shoe-horned in to give Adam Baldwin's character "depth," but they're ultimately superfluous. The movie does feature some spirited sex scenes between Russell and Baldwin, though these scenes are not terribly explicit, the camera darting away from each exposed body part as if embarrassed to have caught it on film. Too bad because, as Shannon Tweed could tell you, showing some skin can deflect attention from a movie's other shortcomings. In the case of "Trade-Off," the leads should have done full-frontal.
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