|Index||6 reviews in total|
A corrupt Las Vegas casino owner, Roy Murcant (Nick Mancuso) is presumed by his primary banker to be embezzling funds from his corporation, and following their demand for an audit, Murcant orders his accountant to secrete a second (clandestine) set of books that would, if revealed, clearly implicate him in illicit financial affairs, including bribery of local politicians and police officials, therewith undoubtedly resulting in an indictment, but after the bookkeeper is slain in his home, it becomes apparent that a list of homicide suspects that might benefit from possession of the damning ledgers is increasing apace. A recently dismissed Miami, Florida area police officer, Jack Newland (Louis Mandylor), terminated because of possible involvement in illegal behaviour, arrives in the Nevada city where he applies for employment in a detective assignment with Las Vegas P.D., is promptly hired by a chief of detectives who is dishonest himself, but subsequent to his again being fired, following a week upon the job, for nosing about too closely into the murder of Murcant's accountant, he is immediately offered a position that he accepts as investigator by the head of the Nevada Gaming Commission, enabling him to persist with his diligent investigative activity, all this part of a confusing plot wherein sense is in the "now you see it, now you don't" category. A bit of a blessing comes as the somewhat torpid Mandylor's character is granted the largest percentage of the film's footage, thereby reducing the amount of the first-billed and hammy Mancuso's habitual scenery chewing. The plot line is full of holes, lacking continuity and logic as well, while dialogue is poorly written and reflects tepid direction. In addition, law enforcement and paramedic procedures are ludicrously inaccurate; yet, the most wearing element to a viewer will be the obsessive use of closeups, even applied to scenes involving fisticuffs, with camera stylistics eventually leading to near nauseation. The players, lacking a strong hand at the helm, cannot accomplish much with the lines supplied to them, and choppy cutting and editing, including poorly accomplished sound synchronization, also contributes negatively to this messy melodrama that is wanting any consistent type of format.
This movie is pretty bad.
The editing is horrible with terrible jump cuts and with narration that repeats itself every five minutes when Jack said something.
One the director's last movies, "Paper Bullets" was a masterpiece compared to this trash. M. Emmet Walsh and Ben Gazzara (They should know better) put in "paycheck" performances at most. The direction, writing, mostly everything about this movie is amateurish. Don't be fooled by the cool looking cover or goofy tagline
("Shoot from the hip or don't shoot at all") It's barely an action movie.
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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Jack of Hearts Review The Premise- A former cop from Florida, Jack
Newland, moves to Vegas to get a new start after being ousted from the
Police force amid a department scandal. He finds Vegas is run by 2
Rival Casino Bosses and a corrupt police department which is on the
payroll of at least one of the bosses. The search is on for the missing
books left by the assassinated bookkeeper for one of the bosses that
could ruin him and give total control of the city to the other. Who
will find the books first?
Early on, I found this movie really dull, especially for one that bills itself an action flick... "Shoot from the Hip or Don't Shoot at All!" Yes, There was action and fight scenes, but they came across as lethargic & forced, with some formulaic explosions throw in as well. It reminded me of a 1970's or 80's Made-for-TV movie of the week or an episode of the old TV series "Vegas". Everything seemed to be in the mix alright, But no excitement, no passion, no fire! Unfortunately, the movie stayed dull most of the way thru out. This movie seemed more like the result of "A Job" rather than a "Work of Art" or "Labor of Love"!
The premise itself wasn't bad, But most of the acting seemed a bit wooden, and the actual look of the film was uninspiring! 3 exceptions were character actor.M. Emmet Walsh (the short time he was in it), Ben Gazzara as Casino boss Bartossa, & Lucky Vanous as one of the more believable henchman. Also of note was Roddy Piper. Roddy Piper's role in this movie was the corrupt Police Chief Deeks. Due to the weak script, He was pretty limited in what he could do with this 2 dimensional character. Basically his character had 2 functions, 1) as crony to boss Murcant, constantly calling and apologizing for not stopping the new cop, and 2) To be the stereotypical police chief who threatens/suspends/fires the honest cop (aka The Good Guy)! He did a pretty good job of giving some depth to the role he had, But it would've been nice to see his character developed a little more, with a little more screen time. It would've added to this movie to have several multi-tiered villains. As it is, there is no central focus for one villain. You have 2 Bosses who run the place, but they don't seem to be trying very hard. You also are supposed to have the ENTIRE Vegas police force out on a man hunt, but you rarely see any of them. I cant remember seeing more than one or possibly two police cars in any one scene. Maybe they were ALL at the Donut Shop! I should also mention that I found the soundtrack/back up music quite distracting & irritating at times.
So, How would I grade this movie? Would I rent it again at the video store? No! Would I even watch it again? Probably not! I'm going to give it a 4 out of 10, just for the nice bikini scene at the beginning. In Hindsight, This movie may be worth one viewing just to see Gazzara as a cagey Mobster and seeing Roddy Piper do a solid job in a different role than usual for him.
Maybe another reason to see this movie is to see a cool "Magic trick" -*Very Minor Spoiler Here* -, ... watch as Jack runs up & goes to kick a dirt biker with nothing in his hands, and then a Silver Bag "Magically" appears in his hand as he finishes the kick. I had to scan back on the DVD to see if I imagined this incredible feat of magic. 'Nuff Said!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's as if this thing was made by some Rip Van Winkle who woke up after
several decades of sleep and thought the ABC Mystery Movie was still
on, then found out it wasn't and added some nudity and profanity to try
and pass Jack of Hearts off as a modern piece of work.
Jack Newland (Louis Mandylor) is the new cop in Las Vegas and isn't in town for a day before getting mixed up in the feud between shady casino bosses Roy Mercant (Nick Mancuso) and Batossa (Ben Gazzara). Yeah, it's just Batossa. Like Cher or Madonna. Roy's accountant (Joe Penny) is murdered and everyone wants to find the books he's kept on Roy's troubled business. Roy wants them so he can finish a deal to build a new casino. Batossa wants them to blackmail Roy.
After banging one showgirl and having another get killed in his apartment, Jack gets caught up in a not-all-that-terribly complicated plot with nothing to rely on but his laughable wits and fairly pathetic fighting skills. After some cheesy action scenes, including throwing an incredibly fake looking mannequin off the Hoover Dam, Jack ends up victorious and then proves his penis is smarter than this brain.
Do you want to know the level of drama we're dealing with here? Jack actually drowns in the middle of the film and is dead for several minutes before being revived, then shakes off the experience like he stubbed his toe. There's another scene that could only happen through the use of teleportation and a third that would have required mental telepathy. This thing is written like a bad 70s cop show and looks like a bad 70s TV mystery movie. I'm also sure that at some point in its development, Jack of Hearts was intended to be the pilot episode of on ongoing series. There are just too many pilot-ish aspects of the story for there to be any other explanation.
There are three basic categories of bad films. There are ones made by people with skill and no talent; ones made by people with talent and no skill; and the disaster made by folks who have neither talent nor skill. Writer/director Serge Rodunsky is one of those no-talent craftsmen who only repeat what they've seen other filmmakers do and anything new or different only slips into the mix by accident. T hat happens a couple of times in Jack of Hearts. For example, when Jack's corrupt boss throws him off the case and asks for his badge and gun, Jack is willing to just give up and forget all about the mystery. It's a neat, human moment where Jack is just a guy trying to get through the day and has had enough of it all. Unfortunately, that moment is like someone lit a match it a pitch black room. For a second you can see something better, then it dies out and you're left in blackness again.
This movie isn't terrible. Jack of Hearts is a below average melodrama with an above average cast. There are certainly worse things to watch than this.
This is a hard-boiled, film noir crime fiction drama that is big on ambition, but low on production budget. There are a ton of familiar character actor faces in this flick: M. Emmet Walsh (The Jerk, Raising Arizona, Blade Runner), Richard Edson (Platoon, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Strange Days), and Nick Mancuso (Under Siege, Total Recall 2070, Wild Palms) to name a few. The movie is set in Las Vegas, and coincidentally, a large chunk of the actors have also appeared in CSI Las Vegas. The plot is complicated, everyone has a quasi-New-York-tough-guy accents, the music is incessant, and the movie seemingly spent all of their budget on a few explosions shot in ultra slow motion. So much so, that I guess they didn't have enough money left towards the end of the movie to pay for fake blood or squibs, instead settling on gunshot noises and close ups of people's faces as they are shot. Aerial shots of Las Vegas are shaky, as if they didn't have the cash for a steady cam rig, or could only afford the low budget stock footage. Car chases seem to go on a little too long, as if they are there solely to fill time. Production issues aside, I thought that this is the perfect sort of low-budget movie to watch on Showtime or Cinemax late at night when you can't get to sleep. You can surf on your computer or do other stuff while the movie enters slow spots, and occasionally give the film your full attention during a shoot out or sex scene. This, like so many other movies in the Film Noir genre, would have greatly benefited from an increase in budget. I've seen episodes of Walker Texas Ranger with higher production values. But, they did the best with what they had. I wouldn't rent or buy this flick, but if it was on late at night and I couldn't sleep, I'd watch it. Hey, I just did. :-)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was surprised about this film's rating. I ordered the NR (Not Rated)
version, I get an R version with no cussing but a 'gratuitous' bedroom
scene that was totally unnecessary. What's up with that? Synopsis:
Detective Jack Newland (the ever-handsome Louis Mandylor) is sent to
Vegas from Florida after narrowingly escaping having his badge pulled
because of a drug bust involving other men on the force. He was clean
but there was speculation. He now has to find operation books of a
casino owner & decide whether to hand them over to the Feds or to
someone else & make off with the cash he bargained for, girlfriend in
tow. He does the right thing in the end.
Note: Didn't like the way said girlfriend threw herself at him down at the pool as soon as he gets into town & the 'gratuitous' scene could've been toned down a lot more. He does so much in 24 hours, you'd think he'd be exhausted. And isn't it hot in the Las Vegas desert?!? Then WHY do they dress him up in a tweed jacket, long sleeve shirt & tie?!? His character wouldn't come off a lot better, more 'in charge' if he would have been dressed more casual like with kind of a Miami Vice feel. And what's with the ugly goggle shades at the end of the film when driving away in the big red Cadillac?!? He should have kept the ones he had in the beginning of the film. They were way cool.
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