User ReviewsReview this title
One thing we notice right up front is that there's no attempt to hide who the killer is, and we basically watch the movie to see how long it will take our protagonist to catch up with us, as he tracks down one lead after another. The movie does get off to an odd start as the opening murder set piece is accompanied by rather unlikely music. The movie has a rather unhurried pace to it, with generally entertaining characters in a fairly twist-laden story, co-written by director Ernest Pintoff (Oscar winner for the animated short "The Critic", and director of such live action features as "Dynamite Chicken" and "Jaguar Lives!") with cult director Jeff Lieberman ("Squirm", "Blue Sunshine").
It is a little tedious at times, but it has its moments too, particularly an interview with a character unsubtly dubbed "Fat Man". There are some sexy ladies on hand, including Karen Machon, Raina Barrett, and Jeanne Lange, and it will be of interest to some that that there are some appreciable topless shots. The score by John Cacavas is well done if a little much at times.
With Pintoff having done quite a bit of work in TV, it's not surprising that so much of the supporting cast contains familiar TV faces: Jon Cypher ('Hill Street Blues') as the killer, Joe Santos ('The Rockford Files'), John Schuck ('McMillan and Wife'), Michael McGuire ('Dark Shadows'), Ted Lange ('The Love Boat'), Steve Landesberg ('Barney Miller'), and Keene Curtis ('Cheers'). Kathryn Walker, as our heros' substantially younger wife, has little to do besides banter with Marley. The film is certainly worth a look for seeing the younger Rue McClanahan and Morgan Freeman in noticeable small parts.
While overall this story - with racial, social and political overtones - is rather forgettable, the movie is still reasonably watchable with the detective taking a fair amount of physical punishment during the finale.
Six out of 10.
Director Ernest Pintoff, who also co-wrote the compact script with Jeff Lieberman, relates the engrossing story at a steady pace, makes good use of assorted grungy New York City locations, maintains a tough gritty tone throughout, and tosses in some ugly violence and tasty gratuitous female nudity for extra lurid measure. The sturdy cast of familiar faces helps a lot: Karthyn Walker as Blade's concerned writer girlfriend Maggie, William Prince as smarmy congressman Powers, Michael McGuire as the cynical Quincy, Joe Santos as Blade's no-nonsense partner Spinelli, John Schuck as huffy superior Reardon, and Keene Curtis as Powers's loyal aide Steiner. Morgan Freeman has a small role as the smooth leader of a black militant group. The raw documentary style and David Hoffman's rough hand-held cinematography provide a strong and vibrant sense of realism and urgency. The lush and lively score by John Cacavas does the rousing trick. Worth a watch.