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Tara McCormick is sent to prison for the attempted murder of a local drug lord named Tommy Stompanato. Inside, she befriends Josie and is approached by a government agent to finish the job she started in exchange for her freedom. Written by
Josh Pasnak <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Are you here for a reason, or are you just here to play cute?"
FUGITIVE RAGE is a disappointing little adventure with just enough of a budget to look professional but not enough talent in the right places. Its lead star, Alexander Keith (credited as Wendy Schumacher), once described themselves as hoping to become "the female Van Damme," but I'm sorry to say that this movie isn't even up to Van Damme's standards. It's an action movie with bad action, and a weak attempt at a feminist feature by people who definitely aren't feminists.
The story: Sent to prison for the attempted murder of a mobster (Jay Richardson), police officer Tara McCormick (Alexander) is offered her freedom by a shady government agent (Tim Abell) in exchange for renewing her assassination attempt.
The quality of the action is average, at best. There are a few shootouts, but they're so impersonal that you won't care about them. There's a goofy instance wherein Tara is hit by a car and hood-surfs until the vehicle inexplicably crashes, but this too is boring. This leaves us with the five fight scenes, but their quality isn't much better. While Keith is a legitimate martial artist, their fights are plagued by a variety of problems: if they're not poorly blocked or clumsily edited, they're painfully slow moving or just simply feature bad choreography. If you want to see Keith's moves utilized a little more gracefully, check out the Michael Dudikoff vehicle COUNTER MEASURES, but don't get your hopes up for this one.
Dramatically, all of the performers do a decent job, and there's even a little chemistry between Keith and Shauna O'Brien as her cellmate. The problem is that the boring screenplay demands so little of these performers that virtually anybody could have played the characters. Surprises are few and innovation is nonexistent, unless the clumsy attempts to turn this into a "girl power movie" can be called clever. Director Fred Olen Ray and producer Jim Wynorski have gone on record stating their condescending opinions on female representation in B-movies, and the things they've decided to highlight in the movie reflect these. There's gratuitous nudity and sex, violence against women, recurrent sexist (and racist) dialogue, lurid descriptions of violence, and a sadistic lesbian warden. Aside from the fact that none of this is counterbalanced by simply having a physically powerful woman as the star, such features give the film a mean-spirited edge that's really too much for it to withstand. Despite its pro-woman overtones, FUGITIVE RAGE disingenuously panders to the 18-36 male demographic and suffers for it.
Even if you're not particularly put off by what I just pointed out, I still can't recommend this one at all. Die-hard B-movie enthusiasts may find mild delight in its corniness, but even they will be likely to wonder whether it was worth digging out the old VCR for. Leave it be.
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