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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Nice addition to the small Spenser TV collection

8/10
Author: TV Boy from Rochester, NY
25 April 2008

My dad and I are both huge fans of the Spenser novels, TV show, telepics, et al. Because we both agree, Robert Urich's cast a long shadow over the role of everyone's favorite Boston P.I., he (dad) didn't buy Joe Mantegna as Spenser at all - too ethnic, he said. "Small Vices" was the first of three TV movies with Mantegna. My dad couldn't get past it. I, though, think Mantegna nailed Spenser's dry wit and sense of humor. "Small Vices" certainly was the best of the A&E trilogy - just try watching Eric Roberts as Police Chief DeSpain in one of the others without cringing. But in a world where Warner Bros. has left "Spenser: For Hire" to languish on its AOL site, and all we have on DVD are the Lifetime TV movies, my investment in a region-free player has paid off again - "Small Vices" was released in Australia on home video and I picked up a copy from Amazon.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Casting

Author: thetallcool1 from Birmingham, AL USA
23 May 2004

I agree, casting the Role of Spenser is a tough one, but if you have seen the poster/soverbox for the movie, "The Substitute", or if you saw "Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead", you can't argue with the fact that Treat Williams would have to make the all-time best Spenser. He's a boxer, He's Irish, He has the smirk, and he's a very good actor, he IS Spenser. And don't just get the first black guy that looks like Avery Brooks to play Hawk, put some thought into that as well. Ving Rhames would do well, since he can slide in and out of the educated accent and the street jive, and he's also one of the better actors out there. If not Ving, another good choice would be Dennis Haysbert, Pedro Serrano from "Major League". Susan Silverman is a tough one. Mr. Parker has almost made her shoes impossible to fill, but if I had to pick an actress who has her charm, looks, smarts, and is also Jewish (why not, Susan is?), I'd have to go with Rena Sofer. The other characters could be played by most any other character actors, Luis Guzman was spot-on as Cholo, the guy who played Little John In "Robin Hood: Men In Tights" is a great Teddy Blue, and Dan Hedaya is who I always see as Vinnie.

Those are just my opinions, everyone sees these characters in a different way. But Joe Mantegna is NOT spenser, sorry.....

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Where is Robert Uhrich et al?

7/10
Author: N2GJ from New Jersey
21 July 1999

Y'know, my wife and I have EVERY Robert Parker book ever published. We've even read a few of them several times. We've seen EVERY "Spenser for Hire" TV episode at least a few times I think. So....it's awfully hard to sit through this decent outing thinking "Geez, Joe Mantegna isn't bad, but he isn't Robert Uhrich!" And Hawk: we REALLY miss Dr. Brooks! Couldn't Rutgers free him up from his teaching long enough for ONE more project?!

On the flip side, Vinnie and Gino were lots of fun, and it was cool seeing Mr. Parker himself (and possibly his very own canine, playing Pearl, the Wonder Dog?) in cameo roles.

The movie was pretty faithful to the book (after all the author also penned the screenplay). By the way, we're glad we videotaped it: A&E is AWFUL with commercial breaks (but aren't ALL broadcasters these days?!)

So 7 of 10 is all it gets from us. 9, if it's Uhrich/Brooks in the remake!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Flick

9/10
Author: Bill Harrison from Minnesota
21 July 1999

Watched Small Vices last night. Thought it was excellent, followed the book fairly closely. Only negative is I think the original Hawk as played by Avery Brooks is better. This one had to much of an accent and was also obviously younger than Spenser. They should be about the same age.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Good film, bad casting

Author: Jeff Cross from Marblehead, MA, USA
19 July 1999

I loved how true to the book the film stayed, thanks to Parker himself writing the script. My only problem is that none of the actors from the original series and Lifetime movies were brought in to reprise their roles. I could live with the recasting of Frank Belson, (done once before) Susan Silverman (done twice before) and Martin Quirk, (Richard Jaeckel's (qv) dead) but not bringing back Robert Urich (qv) and Avery Brooks (qv) made the film suffer. Sheik Mahmud-Bey (qv) struck me as someone I'd like to marry into my family rather than as a mysterious mercenary/crimeland enforcer. I was even hoping they'd bring back Carolyn McCormack (qv) to play Rita.

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Interesting plot & performances, satisfying conclusion & characters who are fun to watch

8/10
Author: diannejohanss from Mt Holly, NJ
27 March 2005

Best of the Joe Mantegna "Spenser" series. The plot is not complicated but the journey is very interesting. The relationship between Mantegna and Marcia Gay Harden's character is among the better portrayals of people hot for each other yet beyond the hormone-driven stage of life.

But the "absolute bestest" is the guy who plays Hawk: Shiek Mahmud-Bey. I'm a big Avery Brooks fan, and remember the Hawk he created in the original series: big shoes to fill. Shiek Mahmud-Bey makes the character completely his own, with a sense of humor & absence of studied attitude that is really enjoyable to watch.

Shiek Mahmud-Bey was replaced by Ernie Hudson in another Mantegna-made "Spenser." I can't imagine why . . . ESPECIALLY if you remember Brooks' Hawk, this is worth watching just for Shiek in my opinion. He hasn't done anything since that I've seen, though I've been looking for him. Accept no substitutions!

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Robert B. Parker's Small Vices

Author: The Peacemaker from Canada
10 June 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I never saw the old series with Robert Urich, and I've only seen a bit of him in "Spenser: Pale Kings and Princes".My father loved the Spenser books,so I gave him a try by taping this A and E original. Joe Montega plays Spenser, the sexy detective,better than I thought he would. Black-belt Sheik Mahmud-Bey plays Hawk, and puts a lot of humour into his character. Full of action, romance, and mystery. Aaaaaaaannnndddd...if you want to see Robert B. Parker without his sunglasses on, look for his cameo as Ives. Rated PG for language, violence, and sex (no actual nudity, but SPOILERS! a blonde takes off her coat, she's butt nude, you see her butt).

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i saw it because richard farnsworth was in it,but was pleasantly surprised

7/10
Author: (sacha_moggy@yahoo.com) from new york, n.y.
31 May 2000

Plot is more original than most; I even learned something about drilling for oil. Joe Montegna is always watchable,one of most underrated actors. And Farnsworth,in small but important role, is always a joy to watch.

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Murder and intrigue in Boston

7/10
Author: helpless_dancer from Broken Bow, Oklahoma
24 July 1999

Good show featuring tough guy Spenser and his pal Hawk as they try to figure out if a convicted man is innocent or not. Spenser suspects the man is not guilty and gets into hot water when he gets too close to the truth. The story was a little corny and the character Spenser is somewhat unbelievable, but the film was enjoyable none the less.

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Good casting for this adaptation of Small Vices.

7/10
Author: anonymous from Toledo, Ohio
19 July 1999

Mantegna and Harden are very good as Spenser and Susan, the by-play is good. Mahmud-Bey makes a good Hawk, though he does not seem to have the sharp edge that Hawk in the books does. The story is followed as closely as time permits for a 90 minute production. An enjoyable two hours.

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