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The sheer awfulness of this movie is difficult to fathom. To start with,
the plot is almost non-dimensional: a skid row cop teams up with a tough
female rookie to catch a serial killer who video tapes his victims. The
killer rides around in space-age comfort in a night-black van, and tasers
his victims so that he never has to leave his TV monitors which can
seemingly see into any bedroom in the city. In an attempt to expand this
tiny plotline, we discover that the killer has an accomplice on the police
force! Who could it be??
It is difficult to find the entire point of this movie: It's not a sex movie, as there is about 20 seconds of bosom in the whole film. It's not a fighting movie, as Cynthia Rothrock (famous for various Jackie Chan-style films throughout the 80's and 90's) delivers about 5 kicks throughout the whole movie. The acting in this film is awful, so I suppose it's a good thing that no-one attempted to develop any of the characters. The technical aspects and realism of the film fall flat in so many places, from Cynthia's "computer knowledge", to the killer's video monitoring system, to the 40-bullet shootouts where no-one gets hit or runs out of ammo.
Oh, and one more thing: what does anything in this movie have to do with "night vision"??
It is truly difficult to believe that a movie this bad was made in 1998 - it is remniscent of the bad cop movies of 20 years ago. I would recommend watching water evaporate before I would recommend this movie to anyone. I gave it (barely) 3 out of 10.
Low budget action movie that tries hard to have some substance (but doesn't leave out gratuitous breast shots). While they scored some once successful actors for this one,the real draw is kick butt Cynthia Rothrock. Rothrock has done some movies that make this look big budget but she never fails to please...her acting is actually fairly good this time around and her martial arts skills top notch. Two major actors from Jackie Brown might seem to be a draw for renters looking for a good movie but be warned; this type of film is an acquired taste. For Rothrock fans, take a look through her filmography and you'll find a number of films where she's more prominently featured as well as early work she did in China.
Fred Williamson, one of the two or three top blaxploitation stars. Cynthia Rothrock, one of the two or three top American female action stars. Imagine a film with these two together for the first time! Now imagine THE WORST film that could possibly be made with these two together for the first time. Welcome to "Night Vision". Of course, this movie was made in 1997 and they were both past their prime, but that doesn't mean they didn't have what it takes anymore - they just needed the help of good writing and direction. They got neither here. Rothrock does get to throw a couple of kicks near the end, but this film is so atrocious that you probably won't be awake to see them. (*)
Silly, routine, Texas filmed B action picture stars Fred "The Hammer"
Williamson as Dakota "Dak" Smith, an ex-detective who's ended up as a
motorcycle cop, thanks to his problems with the bottle. One day he's
pursuing a serial killer known as "The Video Stalker" (Robert
Prentiss), a crafty sicko who delves into the lives of his victims and
films his crimes. Dak screws up big time, so what happens to him is
that he must switch a motorcycle for a car and be partnered with a
young female cop, Kristin O'Connor (Cynthia Rothrock), who's also in
Die hard fans of the stars and the genre may be forgiving towards this ridiculous movie, which is funny often enough to make one think that producer / star Williamson, screenwriter Michael Thomas Montgomery, and director Gil Bettman had their tongues in their cheeks to some degree. Still, this is pretty inept, overall. The action is uninspired, and those viewers hoping to see Rothrock doing what she does best will have to wait until the story is almost over. A mild sex quotient, mostly consisting of bare breasts, might satisfy some people, but as for the violence, this isn't all that graphic.
Williamson and Rothrock do seem to get along alright. Robert Forster, the third star attraction, is typically likable and adds some much appreciated levity to the proceedings. Two other performers that one might recognize are veteran character actor Frank Pesce, as one of Daks' colleagues, and Rodger Boyce, who later turned up in "No Country for Old Men". Prentiss is an amusing villain and gives the best performance in this thing.
If you're like this viewer, and watched this on the basis of the star trio, you're advised to keep your expectations VERY low.
Four out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When a sadistic serial killer starts stalking the streets of Dallas,
Texas, only one man can stop the madness: Dakota "Dak" Smith
(Williamson). But before he can fight this antagonist, he must fight
his inner demons: he's been living in a sober house and going to AA
meetings. His alcoholism even got him demoted from detective to
motorcycle cop working the graveyard shift. But his Commanding Officer,
Teak Taylor (Forster) believes in him, so Teak teams Dak up with the
enthusiastic Kristin O'Connor (Rothrock). Despite his initial
misgivings, they forge a solid relationship. Dak's buddy Newt (Bushwick
Bill) also is supportive. Can Dak turn his life around and catch The
Video Stalker (Prentiss) - so named because he videotapes all his
murders - at the same time? The presence and charisma of Fred
Williamson completely carries this movie. In his first go as the
recurring character Dakota Smith (later to be reprised in On the Edge,
among others), Fred gains your sympathy as the hard-working guy who
loves Twinkies and root beer. Inexplicably, there are multiple scenes
where he appears pantsless, but maybe that was to underline his slide
from hero detective to living on the skids - the media even gives him
the nickname "The Skid Row Cop". He even gets his own, ultra-catchy
theme song, "Dakota Smith - You're 12 Steps Away", which was co-written
by music legend Andre Williams of all people (assuming it's the same
Andre Williams whose career goes back to the 50's).
We all love Cynthia Rothrock, and we were definitely happy to see her here, but she seems miscast as O'Connor. Her martial arts talents are severely underused. This part could have been played by many people - this movie doesn't highlight her particular talents and abilities. Even still, it was nice to see her alongside Fred and Robert Forster (whose part is pretty minimal but still does a competent job). Bushwick Bill, of Geto Boys fame, basically steals the movie as Newt. You really like Newt and Bushwick does a great job.
The great cast notwithstanding, this is still late-90's DTV crud. It's ultra-low budget, and the mixture of simplistic plot - a cop drama/serial killer chase - means it gets a bit slow at times. It really seems like it could have been made in the 80's, thanks mainly to the cast. It was directed by Gil Bettman, the same man who directed Never Too Young To Die (1986). How far the mighty have fallen. What would Stargrove think? The DVD contains the trailer, which we would advise watching after the movie because it gives away pretty much everything. That's why we always watch the trailer after the movie. In order to hook the potential viewer in, they have to give away all the best parts. Too many spoilers.
In sum, the cast is strong but the movie itself is not. So it's kind of a wash, but Fred and Rothrock fans still might find this entry worthwhile, if not ideal.
For more action insanity, drop by: www.comeuppancereviews.com
The first clue that should tell you that "Night Vision" is not a good movie is that it was made by Texas filmmakers - Texas has made more than its share of bad movies. The second clue is that it has Cynthia Rothrock in its cast, and no (American) movie with Cynthia Rothrock is any good. The third clue is with Fred Williamson producing this movie, whose Po' Boy production company has made a string of bad movies. Yes, "Night Vision" is indeed a bad movie. In fairness, I will say that for a VERY low budget, the movie looks good. The colors are strong and there is some decent night shooting. And there are at least SOME production values, something you can't say for all Fred Williamson movies (such as with Williamson's "Black Cobra".) But most of the rest of the movie is pretty pitiful. It's a slow, sluggish movie, even in the action scenes. (And speaking of action, why cast martial arts actress Cynthia Rothrock when she gets to do almost no martial arts?) The atmosphere is sterile. Scenes seem to be missing. And Fred is seen in his underwear twice! And Robert Forster is wasted; he made this the same time that he made "Jackie Brown", and I hope he worked on this mess before making the Tarantino movie.
Unlike most of the reviewers of this particular movie, I'm really not
the much of a Cynthia Rothrock fan, to say the least. However when I
saw that the movie had Fred Williamson and Robert Forster (both great
actors), I just had to watch the film. Williamson is a Dakota Smith, an
alcoholic cop who is demoted to scrubbing toilets with a toothbrush and
even worse having to team up with Cynthia at the behest of the captain
(Robert Forster). Forster is always watchable, it's just a crying shame
that the movie itself is so damn trite and clichéd. It also features
one of the least terrifying villains ever to be committed to celluloid.
Williamson would return to the Dakota character in a few more films,
the next one being "Down N Dirty"
Eye Candy: Nina Richardson shows some T&A; Mary Kapper goes topless
My Grade: D
Where I saw it: Showtime Extreme
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I would like to say at the outset that even though I was disappointed
that Cynthia Rothrock doesn't do more of her martial arts stuff in this
film and I did think it a bit preposterous how indestructible Dakota
Smith, played by Fred Williamson, appears to be, I enjoyed NIGHT VISION
and am glad that it is a part of my DVD collection.
I was surprised that Robert Prentiss, who plays the 'Video Stalker' bad guy wasn't listed further up in the credits (his name isn't in the opening credits) as his character is very prominent. Prentiss can be a bit of a cartoon villain at times in this film but is very convincing as a psycho. In the lead roles as a pair of disgraced cops trying to get their acts together, Williamson and Rothrock are very good. Support is given to them by the excellent Robert Forster, but unfortunately he doesn't have much to do in this picture. I was a bit sad to see Forster here actually. Although I do like NIGHT VISION, it is very much a 'B' movie and after Forster appeared in Quentin Tarantino's JACKIE BROWN a lot of people, me included, thought QT would resurrect Forster's career the same way he had done for John Travolta and Bruce Willis when they appeared in PULP FICTION. But Forster is brilliant any time he's on screen.
The action is all handled brilliantly by Gil Bettman and the script by Michael Montgomery (who wrote another great overlooked action movie, EYE OF THE TIGER) has fantastic twists and turns in it. My only problem with the movie is actually the two jerk cops Bigelow and Johnson, who mock both our heroes. But at least they turn good in the end when they help the two nail the Video Stalker's crooked cop partner. I thought the black Dodge van which the Stalker travels in looks very menacing as well, and found it creepy how he seems to find out every intimate detail of his victims' lives. I think more could have been done with the plot line about the Stalker's mob connections, but overall, I rate NIGHT VISION as a brilliant action movie, and well worth spending 90 minutes of your life watching.
the only reason i bought this DVD is because cynthia rothrock is in it.now everybody knows she is the queen of martial arts b movies.the trouble is this is not a martial arts movie.cynthia rothrock has about a minute or so of fight scenes in this stupid movie.now if you were a film maker and you had cynthia rothrock in your movie would'nt you want to have a lot of martial arts action? all she does in this movie is walk around looking bored just like i was when i watched this pile of crap.i own a lot of her movies and they are all b movies but at least they had some cool fight scenes in them.if you are a martial arts fan avoid this no matter what.i'm still mad i wasted 4 dollars to buy this DVD
This movie is great for the brilliantly choreographed chase scenes and the invigorating soundtrack. What Gil Bettman has here is a cinematic masterpiece. The sex scenes in this movie are not gratuitous like other films, but are important to the storyline. The classic one-liners will go down in history as some of the greatest ever, especially the "holy f***" line in the church. Cynthia Rothrock shows off her incredible rear end and also her finely tuned acting chops, comparable to the late Audrey Hepburn. A highly underrated classic for the ages.
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