|Index||5 reviews in total|
I felt that from the opening action sequence to the riveting finale, this film was an emotional roller coaster ride. Richard Grieco did a great job in his role as a washed up cop and the veteran actors John Saxon, Corbin Bernsen and Martin Kove were so colorful in their Co-starring roles. Kove played a righteous man who sometimes has to do bad things. The script was mediocre at best but the Direction was splendid. The action sequences in the film were shot and edited real edgy, sort of like an MTV music video with the exception of the deadly consequences. Even though it was a low budget thriller it felt like an A budget film.
Two words "Rampart Scandal". Final payback is the kind of movie you see is if you've ever heard of the rampart scandal and wondered why it happened. Just like that scandal there are no real winners but a lot of empathy for both sides. Richard Grieco is excellent as a washed up cop who quits in disgrace over moral issues and Martin Kove is equally great as his nemesis. Overall the cast is quite good for a low budget feature. Corbin Bernsen, John Saxon, Pricilla Barnes and Laura Harring rounds out the cast of actors. The film is well written and directed and overcomes many of it's failings by the stylish directing and purposely gritty cinematography.
I'm not sure what I think about this as a whole. I think it wanted to be more than it was: there were interesting side bits about the people police captain Kove draws into his plan to eliminate Joey Randall, the flawed but ultimately sympathetic lead as played by the always-nice-to-look-at Richard Grieco. Corbin Bernsen was entertaining in his brief on screen time; Angelo Ales was also very colorful as Uncle Sal, and Sherrie Rose was a treat as a psycho druggie chick, clearly enjoying her role very much. Some things were predictable and some came out of nowhere, such as Grieco's old love seemingly suddenly changing her mind about her feelings for him. Priscilla Barnes' cameo was nicely creepy. Good cast, uneven script; not too sure about the voice-overs from Grieco about things we could see for ourselves. I'm searching for the way to sum this up... and I guess... it wasn't bad. If you like Grieco, you'll like this, and the supporting cast is interesting. If you like chases and fights, you'll like this well enough, too. Not a cinematic masterpiece by any means, but not the worst way to spend 90 minutes, either. And Grieco is good for "the scenery" alone.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Confessions of a Pit Fighter" writer & director Art Camacho recycles
every cliché in the book with this monotonous crime thriller about
police corruption in Los Angeles. "Final Payback" qualifies as
predictable from fade-in to fade-out, and a number of talented actors
toil in this deplorable melodrama. Indeed, this atmospheric but
ineffectual police potboiler draws its inspiration from the infamous
Ramparts scandal in the Los Angeles Police Department. If you want to
see a more compelling movie about this scandal, you should watch Chris
Fisher's gritty "Dirty" with Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Former L.A.P.D. detective Joey Randall (Richard Grieco of "Mobsters" quits the force after he witnesses the brutal cold-blooded murder of a suspect by Captain Peter James (Martin Kove of "Rambo: First Blood, Part 2") who displays no qualms about abusing justice for his own gain. Moreover, when Randall takes his tale to Police Chief George Moreno (John Saxon of "Enter the Dragon"), Randall is warned that tattling on his fellow officers serves nobody's interests. Since this disillusioned policeman has nowhere to go, he becomes romantically involved with the police chief's ex-wife, Sharon Moreno (Priscilla Barnes of "License to Kill"), who shares none of his discretion with her familiarity of corruption within the ranks of the L.A.P.D. Finally, James decides to silence her permanently and frame Randall.
"Final Payback" opens with our addle-brained protagonist awakening in Sharon's luxurious house. When he discovers her bloody corpse in the shower, Randall staggers backwards in shock and conveniently plants his paw on the huge, blood-soaked knife used to slay her. Of course, in classic Hitchcock fashion, Randall picks up the knife long enough to get Sharon's blood on his hands and his DNA on the murder weapon. No sooner has Randall done this and realized the enormity of his predicament than a uniformed policeman enters the residence. Rather than give himself up, Randall flees the scene of the crime on his motorcycle with the uniformed cop hot on his heels. Although he manages to elude the patrolman, he cannot elude James' men. The cop in pursuit dies in a spectacular accident and Randall runs to an old flame, coffee shop waitress Gina Carrillo (Laura Harring of "Dead Women in Lingerie") who tries to help him. You'd think that somebody whose involved to be married to somebody else would wash her hands of this loser, but she lets him sack out in her apartment because his is too hot.
Meantime, Randall relies on former junkie Steve Ghallagher (Michael Bowen of "Jackie Brown") to help him out. It doesn't take James long to get to Ghallagher, and he manages to turn him against Randall. James achieves this by hooking Ghallagher back on drugs. If Randall doesn't have enough to worry about, he finds himself cornered by two ex-convicts out to do James' dirty work . The problem is that these two, a Hispanic boxer named Rivas (Manuel Sanchez of "All the Pretty Horses") and a coked-up female, Tanya (Sherrie Rose of "New Crime City") are terrible shots. They burst in on our hero at a restaurant and blast away at him from point blank range. They miss every shot they take! It does not help matter that our witless hero is just as rotten at close-range shooting, too. He misses them, too! Incredibly, two more gunmen plunge into the fray, blasting away at the two assassins and missing them, too! Okay, this may enhance the film's realism, but it puts a dent in the drama.
Ultimately, our hero finds himself between a rock and a hard place struggling to stay alive. Everybody who has the misfortune to come into contact with him winds up on a slam. Ex-girlfriend Gina puts her life on the line and dies from a bullet in the back of her head meant for Randall. Incredibly, she is shot and killed from long range by Tanya who is a better shot with an automatic rifle than a handgun. Eventually, Randall learns that James wants a surveillance video that contains an incriminating conversation between James and another murderous cop. They are taped discussing a plot to kill Sharon to shut her up. Caught in the middle is Police Chief Moreno who warns James that they are going to be in a lot of trouble.
Skip this shallow saga! The characters are not only idiotic, but they also lack any charisma. The leather-jacket clad hero doesn't have a clue. Wearing his hand long and in his face, Grieco looks like he is sleepwalking through this derivative pabulum, while Kove registers best as a hopelessly slimy villain. The last scene with Kove entering a jail cell only to find a tall, menacing African-American male slipping behind him is really unbelievable. After all the things that the Kove villain has done, he would turn the black convict into luncheon meat. John Saxon deserves better than "Final Payback." He is given little to do but walk around and wave his hands, while poor Corbin Bernsen shows up for two scenes as a mayor seeking re-election. They should have called this mess "Final Payback." There are no surprises in this potboiler, and Camacho scripts the thoroughly familiar action strictly by-the-numbers.
Never heard of it? Good. This is your typical straight to video type movie. While it is watchable, it is so boring, so predictable, and uses about single cliche in film about corrupt cops & seeking revenge. Be sure to skip this along and actually find something with REAL actors and a REAL story.
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