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|Index||54 reviews in total|
I really wanted to like this movie, be invested on either how awesomely
90s it is or how interesting certain aspects were, but it fails. It's
not a bad movie, it's a dull movie.
Firstly, we have the sex scene in the Oval Office, which you can tell on how it's conveyed that director Dwight Little thought this was controversially awesome, and to tell us this is a mature movie. (Many 90s films had these shadowed sex scenes to signal this is going to be an intertwining tale of double crossings, sleaze and conspiracies.) We also have Harlan's introduction, using unorthodox methods to disarm a suicidal man with typical smart aleck. (Many 90s films couldn't shake off 80s cop maverick and were used not as a plot point or moment of hilarity like its predecessor, but as a quick ploy for character emphasis, only never to be used again throughout the movie.) Then a bombardment of clichés; Nina revolts against the Secret Service, Chief Spikings is heavily secretive and dismissive towards the detectives and Harlan is a 'man of the streets' with own problems but always gets the job done. Nothing original is presented.
The closest we get to something a little different is Harlan's apartment where we see a miniature recreation of Washington in the 19th Century; he talks to Nina about his father being a "history buff" and through this he too is fascinated by American history but this goes nowhere! He never talks about history, this trait quickly disperses and no reference is made later. I'm guessing the point is to emphasise his love for the city, but it needn't go to such lengths of making this.
The cigar Harlan had throughout was a cheap, tacky attempt at conveying a hardened, maverick cop of the streets, a man with a problem with authority etc. because he never smokes it! It's not even alight, which you could forgive as Snipes is a non-smoker, but to have it there is really disjointing viewing.
The performances from the surrounding cast weren't particularly memorable; none of them were bad or outwardly irritating but were just there. The closest to any intrigue was Dennis Miller who definitely tried to add humour to the script.
Murder at 1600 is dull and unoriginal. Everything here has been done many times before and whenever its shows any signs of originality, it's quickly discarded for safer choices. A time-filler flick.
What happens when a homicide is committed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,
the Presidential Mansion, the White House? My own guess is that it
would fall under the jurisdiction of the FBI. But they don't enter the
picture here because guarding the president and his family falls under
the purview of the Secret Service. I think the FBI would have first
jurisdiction because the White House is federal property sitting on
federal land, a murder in a Post Office would fall under the same rule.
But when a White House staffer who's been having an affair with the president's son Tate Donovan is murdered and her body left in the public bathroom there, the Washington, DC homicide squad is called in. That would be Wesley Snipes and he's partnered with Secret Service liaison Diane Lane. They are called in by White House National Security Adviser Alan Alda who wants due diligence and as much help as possible in solving the murder. And of course he's got an interest in his president Ronny Cox and first lady Diane Baker not to mention the institution of the presidency itself.
Snipes and Lane start pursuing one line of investigation, but soon get sidetracked into another because the clues given them don't quite pan out. While this is going on, the country and the president are involved in a hostage crisis with North Korea, another Pueblo like incident. And it turns out they are related.
Murder At 1600 is a nice political thriller whose pace doesn't let up at all. There are two other good performances of note in it, Dennis Miller plays Snipes's laconic partner who acts a whole lot like comedian Dennis Miller. And Daniel Benzali plays one creepy head of the White House Secret Service detail.
As for Alan Alda those of you who know and appreciate Alan Alda as Hawkeye Pierce from MASH, you will see an Alan Alda in this film who would probably have Hawkeye shot as a traitor.
I recommend Murder At 1600 very highly, try to catch it when broadcast.
Given that the last film I'd seen with the US President as a leading
character was the excessively patriotic "Air Force One", I might have
been more sceptical of this film which has a murder taking place within
the White House itself. Perhaps not entirely beyond the realm of
possibility but this old-fashioned political thriller, despite
maintaining my interest until the end, doesn't offer anything too
original. Having said that, it is an intriguing way to pass a couple of
hours - assuming you haven't figured out the killer too early.
Wesley "Not Denzel Washington" Snipes (my girlfriend always gets them confused so that's for her benefit) plays DC Detective Harlan Regis, about to be evicted from his block of flats and assigned to investigate the murder of a young secretary within the White House. Monitored by secret service agents Nina Chance (Diane Lane) and Nick Spikings (Daniel Benzali), Regis quickly finds that the White House seem keen to cover up the whole incident while the President (Ronny Cox) struggles with a hostage crisis in North Korea. But Regis isn't about to be put off from bringing the killer to justice, even if it threatens to bring the administration down.
Snipes seems to have an uncanny ability to appear in movies that, while technically sound, rarely achieve massive popularity and "Murder At 1600" is another one of those films. An adequate script is enlivened by the performances of Snipes, Lane and Alan Alda as National Security Adviser Alvin Jordan. I did feel that more could have been made of the hostage crisis sub-plot, which never really seemed an integral part of the story. It also wasn't afraid of ploughing on with the tired cliché of the Secret Service being shadowy, self-serving and trigger happy - ground that has been covered many times before and even at the time of release. In fact, Mulder and Scully may have well been in the background, looking for aliens on the First Lawn! Having said that, this is a very old-skool cop plot even if Regis feels less like a cop and more like a paranoid fugitive.
If you like your cop films with a twist but little else in the way of excitement or originality then "Murder At 1600" will satisfy your needs. But for me personally, I never really felt engaged as a viewer. It did remind me of Denzel's foray into cop films, "Training Day", but only because I wanted to watch that instead. I sound harsh but I didn't really feel that enthusiastic about it. It passes the time well enough but that's it and to be honest, you could do something more constructive in two hours than watching a movie this anonymous. Still, at least it's not as bad as "Air Force One" - I'd rather the President was a suspect in a murder enquiry than a Rambo-type character.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
made my dog start hyperventilating and gave her enough adrenalin to
lope up the steep staircase to the bedroom, where we were watching this
Wesley Snipes/Diane Lane mystery. Stroking and petting the canine
helped me accept some of the implausibility of the story, and I watched
it to the end.
When it seemed that the First Son was the killer, I tossed out the opinion that maybe it was the First Lady, reasoning that some clever screenwriter stole the idea from Presumed Innocent. Pam guessed Alan Alda, but I thought that there were too many cold eye characters to settle on one. It was when Ronny Cox, Alda and a bunch of military types tried to decide whether to drop a few bombs on North Korea and start a war that my focus became clear. The writers were not channeling Absolute Power, but rather Seven Days in May. Kirk, Burt and Freddie March did it better, but they didn't have this DC Detective backstory to gum up the works. You know something is wrong with the writing when the running joke about eviction goes nowhere.
Despite these problems, Snipes held my interest, the dog settled down, the rain let up and it finished in time to let me see the last three minutes of the Pistons-Heat game.
A murder of a beautiful female staffer in the White House leads to a strange and confusing case for D.C. cop Wesley Snipes and Secret Service Agent Diane Lane in this lame would-be-thriller. Naturally Lane is the only help that Snipes has and there are layers and layers of corruption within the government due to problems the nation is having in Korea. "Murder at 1600" plays more like a cable movie of the week rather than a theatrical release. The direction is never solid and the screenplay uses every Hollywood cliche you can think of. Snipes and Lane make for an attractive, but ultimately boring pair and in the end Dennis Miller's one-liners as Snipes' partner are the film's greatest assets. 2 stars out of 5.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Murder At 1600 is that rarity these days, a thriller that places suspense
over violence. While there is some action, this film relies more on good old
nail biting suspense and mystery.
The plot: Wesley Snipes is a DC homicide cop called in when a Whiet House staffer is found murdered in a washroom. He sets out to investigate and immediately runs into opposition from all side. The Secret Service chief doesn't want a city cop on his turf and assigns an agent played by Diane Lane to keep an eye on Snipes. After a while though she realizes Snipes is on to something and the two of them enter an uneasy partnership. They soon discover that a sinister conspiracy has been designed to bring the president down.
Good acting, lots of suspense and action. See it!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had been warned that this was not one of Wesley Snipes best efforts. I'm glad to say those people who told me that were dead wrong. This is a stylish, neat little action flick that moves swiftly, and without a doubt, one Snipes best efforts. Diane lane is perfect as the secret service agent, who at first, begrudgingly helps snips uncover a murder plot within the white house. Several red herrings turn up as to who's behind it, and everything manages to make senses still at the end. Alan Alda manages to pull off what he did in NAd the Band Played On, a villain, that for some reason, you can't help but like. He plays the role with such genuine ease, you could almost see him perform the role in real life. Ironic that he character wanted a war in North Korea, when his M*A*S*H counterpart couldn't wait for his Korean war to end. This is one of a few action flicks that make you think. Despite the somewhat over contrived chase scene at the end though Lincoln's tunnels, in the movie is depth, and believable. Considering the film came out at a time in which the sitting President, Bill Clinton, was marred in his own scandals involving sex and the white house, the film makers where careful not to make any comparisions. Ronny Cox is at home playing a beleaguered president, and should be considered one of the best supporting players in film history. Kind of funny that Dennis Miller is cast as Snipes police partner, considering at the time, he was filming his own political stand up show, The Dennis Miller Show on HBO. despite his limited role, he provides the perfect wise ass t0 Snipes's straight lace character. Without a doubt this is a winner of a movie. One when The Killer is dealt with, you actually feel like cheering, not many movies can make that claim
The flavorless "Murder at 1600" does, at the outset, show some promise as a thoughtful, original thriller, one with style and flair. One cannot, however, venture too far into watching this picture without realizing that it is simply another standard piece of film laundry, one soiled with an inept script, forgettable performances, and an unbelievably silly and floppy ending. The combination of Wesley Snipes and the always-great Ronny Cox cannot save this stale exercise in tedium.
well. Wesley Snipes does it again....yet another crap film...it seems like
he's batting a thousand...Passenger 57, U.S. Marshalls...I mean
really...Stop the Insanity......
And Alan Alda....what is wrong with you?.....Alda is arguable the greatest television actor of all time, and gave great performances in Mad City and all those Woody Allen films...but he just falls flat here....completely unconvincing....
But the film's problems are not just the actors' fault...the writing was horrendous...I'll never undestand why films like this actually get beyond the idea stage.........
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Another dumb mixture of uninteresting action scenes with a fake
suspense mood associated with the political plot.
The thing in these films is that none of the elements that are supposed to grab you is mildly interesting to make the film worthy. Check it:
- the action is the scent of action, or even less. A few shooting scenes, literally shooting, Lane's character is a specialist in straight shooting, and all the action scenes are dull and purely based on shooting;
- the story is trite and useless. See how silly it sounds: something about some guys who frame the president of the USA through framing his son, through implicating him in the murder of one of his lovers. That way they blackmail the president forcing him to choose between his position and the reputation of his family. The idea was to replace him so that the bad guys could get into North Korea with a few soldiers to free other soldiers... Oh the evil brain was a close friend and collaborator of the good president;
- the previous point shouldn't matter. I can count dozens of films with similarly silly plots which are worth the time, because they layer other interesting things on the empty plot. But here nothing supports it. Snipes' thing only works when the plot allows it (demolition man), the direction is banal and boring, there's nothing to be seen.
Diane Lane does have a presence. She's not a specially interesting actress, but she poses well, and has an enigmatic look, which attracts. She would have been a great femme fatal, should she have worked 60 years ago.
My opinion: 1/5
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