A cop and her partner are trying to break a gambling racket in the Vietnamese community. But when her partner's wife is murdered in a gruesome manner, the case takes on a personal cast, and... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Det. Stash Horvak
...
Det. Rose Ekberg
...
Gordon Mulvaney
...
Hershel Kirkland
Dan Lett ...
Jimmy Khang
David Huband ...
Shecky Bernstein
...
Dennis Kye
Denise Fujiwara ...
Fran Ho
Von Flores ...
Linh Tze Chou
Arthur Eng ...
Joey Tam
Harvey Chao ...
Tony Tam
...
Julie Horak
...
Ted Baum
Chantellese Kent ...
Carly Ekberg
Quyen Hua ...
Secretary
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Storyline

A cop and her partner are trying to break a gambling racket in the Vietnamese community. But when her partner's wife is murdered in a gruesome manner, the case takes on a personal cast, and they are up against the cops on their own precinct, as well as the villains on the street...and even each other. Written by Kathy Li

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Thriller | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

3 March 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Frame by Frame  »

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Soundtracks

Lazy Moon
Written by Graham Goble
Performed by Debra Byrne
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User Reviews

 
Conundrum --- Truth In Titling
14 March 2012 | by (Pensacola, FL) – See all my reviews

DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE AND DON'T WANT TO KNOW THE PLOT.

Conundrum, definition: A confusing and difficult problem or question.

The plot of Conundrum starts out as a straightforward police-against-the-Asian-mob-story with the police being a mixed sex pairing of Det. Rose Ekberg (Marg Helgenberger) as a divorced, single mother and Det. Stash Horak (Michael Biehn) as the married, expectant father. The story takes a twist when Horak's pregnant wife and one of her co-workers are killed. Suspicion falls on Rose Ekberg as the relationship between the partners seems very close.

The first time I saw Conundrum, it was 2:37 in the morning and the cat had just woken me up. (The cat is responsible for a lot of my wee hours movie watching as he's fond of waking me between two and three in the morning.) So I turn on the TV and this is on. It had been running for 40 minutes. I tuned in shortly before the dead wife is discovered.

I watched thinking "Is Michael Biehn really such a lousy actor?" I always thought of Biehn as a solid actor, even compelling in a couple of roles. Here he was supposed to be the grieving widower and I wasn't buying his grief. I tried to tell myself that people express grief in many different ways, but all I was getting from him was this kind of creepy vibe. Said creepy vibe explained when it turned out that Biehn's character was the one who had his pregnant wife raped and murdered along with her lover (who was the father of the baby). Well.......that would definitely account for the inauthentic grief.

When Conundrum was over, I was scratching my head. I checked out IMDb as I find the reviews helpful in filling in stuff I missed. There were no reviews......nada.......nothing.......none. I've never seen a movie with no reviews on here, not when it's sixteen years old.

So, I made a note to myself to try to catch Conundrum from the beginning the next time it came on which fortunately wasn't in the middle of the night.

After watching the full movie, I'm still scratching my head. I think Conundrum is one of those movies where you best just go along for the ride because, if you think about the plot, it's going to give you a headache. Like why Horak arranged to have his wife killed BEFORE he gets the test results saying he's shooting blanks so he knows the baby isn't his. (He's at the doctor presumably getting the results when his partner picks him up there. They go off to work the Asian mob case and when he gets home his wife is dead. So he had to have already set up the murders before he got the information.) Or why when Det. Ekberg (Helgenberger) spots an item of a murder victim's clothing (which turns out to contain critical evidence) at a crime scene she doesn't tell anyone but let it lay there until the end of the movie. (Or how it was everyone else missed seeing it when it was so near the body.) Or why the police didn't investigate the husband for the murder. Aren't husbands automatically suspects? And this one had just paid for an expensive double hit. Or why the police never look into the relationship between the wife and the co-worker. So as POLICE dramas go, Conundrum not a good one. (But neither was the Diane Lane movie Unfaithful {in which the police demonstrate their incompetence}, and that was a big hit.)

I'd recommend this movie for Marg Helgenberger fans. It's a strong role for her. It's probably a lot more accurate portrayal of what it was like to be a female in law enforcement than the politically correct, egalitarian world of CSI. Here Helgenberger's detective definitely had to deal with a hostile working environment. One of her fellow detectives was so blatantly biased you just wanted to ask the guy, "Hey, are you LOOKING for a sexual harassment lawsuit?" At first Horak as the partner seemed supportive, and up until he arranged for a double homicide, he probably was genuinely supportive which accounted for the closeness between the partners. But afterward, with his own welfare paramount, manipulation is everything --- something that slowly dawned on Ekberg. Despite her partner's attempt to deliberately sidetrack her and then implicate her, Helgenberger's Ekberg proved to be a tenacious detective who put the pieces together in the end even when she didn't want to believe the way they were shaping up.

For fans of CSI where Helgenberger's Catherine Willows was a former stripper and if you've ever thought you'd like to have seen that, in this role Helgenberger did nudity and showed everything that wouldn't be hidden by a g-string. There was equal opportunity nudity as Michael Biehn, too, showed his bare bum in the sex scene.

All in all, Conundrum, not a great movie, but not a bad movie either. It's an okay movie........interesting enough to pass a couple of hours with.


6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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