Unlawful Entry (1992) Poster

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One Obsessed Cop
bkoganbing5 August 2009
Unlawful Entry casts Kurt Russell and Madeline Stowe as a typical Los Angeles Yuppie couple who get a very big jolt in their lives when a junkie breaks in looking for what to rob and messes with both Kurt and Madeline physically and emotionally.

But the cure is far worse than the disease when Officers Ray Liotta and Roger E. Mosley respond to the scene. Liotta gradually insinuates himself in their lives because he thinks that Stowe is sending up signals that she wants him. This of course sets up the conflict between Liotta and Russell for the rest of the film. With Liotta having a badge and gun, he's at a decided advantage to say the least.

The film does belong to Liotta who seems like a normal middle class guy who went into law enforcement at first. It's a subtle piece of acting on Liotta's part as we see his true nature gradually revealed. The man does have issues which are revealed in his encounter with working girl Rosa Salazar and later as he commits some Unlawful Entry and watches Russell and Stowe getting it on. Of course since he's a cop it can't be Unlawful Entry.

Ken Lerner has a nice part in this film as Russell's lawyer, the kind you make jokes about, but also the kind it's good to have on your side when you're in trouble.

Unlawful Entry is a good, if a tad unrealistic film. One thing I will say though at the end it's absolutely anyone's guess as to what will happen with the survivors.
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Ray Liotta at his chilling best
Leofwine_draca4 September 2011
A sterling entry in the psycho-thriller genre, mainly thanks to Ray Liotta's performance as the manic cop. Rarely has Liotta been this good: he literally simmers with pent-up rage whenever you see him on-screen, delivering one of the best turns of his career as the frightening cop from hell. Sure, Liotta could be good elsewhere – who can forget his career-changing turn in Scorsese's GOODFELLAS? – but he'll be forever remembered for the kind of sweaty, crazy-eyed role he effortlessly portrays here.

Liotta's given solid support from Kurt Russell and Madeleine Stowe as the unwitting couple who find themselves caught up in a nightmare. This is the archetypal 'slow burner' of a plot, with everyday events and subtle hints and clues gradually building from an impressive climax, which makes use of plenty of clichés but nevertheless ticks all the right boxes. UNLAWFUL ENTRY is one of those thrillers that doesn't disappoint, and unlike PACIFIC HEIGHTS it isn't spoilt with dated attempts at style. Thumbs up.
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simple thriller with desperate intensity
SnoopyStyle8 September 2016
Michael (Kurt Russell) and Karen Carr (Madeleine Stowe) live in a Californian suburb. An intruder gets into the house and holds Karen at knife point temporarily before escaping. Officers Pete Davis (Ray Liotta) and Roy Cole (Roger E. Mosley) arrive to check on the incident. Pete is obsessed with Karen as his volatile character becomes increasingly destructive.

This is one of those psychological thrillers where the madness can be seen from miles away and the movie plows directly into it refusing to stop until the last frame of film. Ray Liotta always has that great dangerous madness just beneath the surface. Kurt Russell does a perfectly good everyman and Madeleine Stowe is a solid victim. This is a simple thriller with desperate intensity.
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A Nice Showcase for Ray Liotta
gavin694226 December 2015
A young professional couple are befriended and looked after by one very kindly uniformed police officer, who at first merely answers a burglary call at their home, but in the course of time his ever-increasing attentions to them come to be more and more suspect in themselves.

Kurt Russell facing off against a crazy Ray Liotta is pretty great, but it seems like they never took this film to its full potential. Liotta is nuts and excels in his role, but Russell is too subdued. He seems like the wrong actor for the part, because we know how intense he can be.

The film also seems to follow the cookie cutter thriller plot, with the necessary changes here and there. It would have been nice to see something we have not already seen many times before (and things that were especially common in the early 1990s).
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To protect and to serve and to ravish
rmax30482321 October 2003
I love the word "ravish." It's only one step away from "ravage" and just down the block from "pillage." I try to use it every chance I get, as in, "Madeleine Stowe is ravishing. Any normal man would want to ravish her." Actually, even Ray Liotta, the cop, wants to ravish her and he's not at all normal, I hope.

The movie's got everything a thriller ought to have, right out of McKee's textbook. There is a speech praising the villain, the villain holds the hero at bay, a dead body comes back to life, there are several woman-in-jep scenes, the musical score is copied directly from "Halloween", a woman tries to shoot a man with a pistol from which the man has slyly removed the rounds. This doesn't mean it's necessarily badly done. It wouldn't be so familiar if it hadn't been used so many times before, and it wouldn't have been used so many times before if it didn't get the job done.

Until the very end, which is a traditional slam-bang confrontation with Stowe cowering in the background and a frightened cat and a dead plastic-bagged body stuffed in the closet for no particular reason, it's a routine story of a seemingly nice cop, Liotta, who ingratiates himself with a nice middle-class family, Kurt Russel and Stowe. It gradually becomes clear, first to Russell, then to the somewhat slower Stowe, that this guy is a few beers short of a six-pack. First he captures the burglar who broke into Russell's house and gleefully invites Russell to beat hell out of him. Then Liotta begins to suffer from the delusion that Stowe loves and wants him as much as he does her.

Give me a moment to put on my white coat. Hold it. Arm went into the wrong sleeve. Okay. "In clinical psychology we call this 'projection.' 'Projection' is the attribution of unacceptable emotions on to someone else, when in fact the motives are solely yours. You may see 'projection' displayed to better effect by Humphrey Bogart's character in 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.' That's all for the moment. Thank you."

Well, it's routine but it has a couple of good things going for it. Liotta's attentions to Stowe, who is, as I said, well worth whatever attention she gets, is both uninvited and unrequited. But Russell isn't that cool. He suspects at first that something is going on between his wife and Liotta. and there are some angry exchanges dealing with this possibility. Compare, Andy Garcia and Nancy Travis in "Internal Affairs," a movie to which this one bears some resemblance. At least the family is not all bourgeois and snuggly. A bit of edge here and there doesn't hurt.

The opening is rather nicely done too. A silent helicopter shot of a taped-off crime scene -- a couple of humdrum cop cars arranged around a body spread eagled in the middle of the road. The camera meanders over the suburban roof tops and picks out one comfortable mission-style home to zero slowly in on a figure in a red swim suit using the aquamarine pool in the back yard. A typical Los Angeles home, nothing too fancy, worth no more than about $120 billion. Nice opening. Well, you know, if it was good enough for Hitchcock in "Psycho", it's certainly good enough for "Unlawful Entry."

That introduction takes only a few minutes but is concisely written too. We learn basically all we need to about this ordinary and ambitious family. We learn they're hard up for money, that Liotta loves his wife but spends too much time working on business deals, that he plays golf, that his wife wants children. None of this is clumsily spelled out in dialog either. We only guess that he enjoys bourgeois golf instead of proletarian bowling because when he investigates a suspicious noise he walks to his golf bag and yanks out a putter. We guess that she wants kids because of the way she treats the family cat, but those are examples of what I mean when I use the term "concisely written."

In the end I felt a little sorry for Liotta's character. True he clobbers anyone he feels like clobbering, he later murders his partner in cold blood and strangles an innocent young woman, and he throws another naked, compliant, young police groupie out of his car, and he peeks in on Stowe and Russell when they are in flagrante dilecto -- but at least he leaves the cat alone. (In these kinds of movies, the cat doesn't usually survive.) And he's not given a cheap excuse for his derangement. His father didn't abuse him when he was a child or anything. He's just plain nuts, but in a pathetic way, an apologetic way, that almost compels you to wish he had been sane. He's a marginal person in every respect -- no girl friends, no home, nothing.

And, full as the film is of clichés, the dynamic between the three principals is still captivating. Few of us are as rich as Kurt Russell is here, but we can all identify with him because he and his wife find Liotta at first interesting, then insinuating, then intrusive, then mad. It raises questions like, "How do you get rid of someone you dislike but who insists on being your friend?"

Kind of interesting.
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bevo-1367831 March 2020
I like the bit where the person entered somewhere that legally the weren't allowed to enter
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One Of The Better Films From The Sub-Genre
Theo Robertson2 May 2008
It's interesting to note how forgotten the sub-genre of " People from hell " films are today . In the early 1990s every major studio would bring out a nanny from hell , a lodger from hell , a fan from hell , a client from hell etc etc . Perhaps the reason they're forgotten is down to the fact that the movies weren't very good and suffered from being formulaic ?

Certainly UNLAWFUL ENTRY is one of the more entertaining movies in its field and it's probably down to the cast . Kurt Russell who unfortunately seems to have disappeared from successful films over the last few years was always good at playing good guy everyman and here plays architect Michael Carr . Madeleine Stowe is someone else who seems to have disappeared from the radar recently plays his wife Karen and they both make a likable and believable on screen couple with Karen being the object of lust of sociopathic cop Pete Davis played by Ray Liotta . Okay I doubt if any of the cast were expecting Oscar nominations but the on screen chemistry makes UNLAWFUL ENTRY a very watchable film

There are some problems . Liotta is good enough when Davis is just an ordinary cop but when he acts all mean , nasty and obsessive he does tend to go over the top and unlike his two co-stars you can't really scratch your head wondering why Liotta now appears in obscure straight to video/DVD movies . Likewise the screenplay does became more and more unbelievable in the second half but that's always the problem with these type of movies . Not to be too negative it's still a watchable piece of entertainment
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A good old fashioned thriller.
Boba_Fett113821 July 2012
Thing I like about this movie is that it isn't overdoing anything, or feels the need to spice things up with gunfights or explosions. It rather relies on its story, characters and underlying tension, like every good thriller should do, in my opinion.

No, this movie doesn't has the most likely story in it and some of the developments aren't all that convincing but the movie is simply being good and enjoyable for what it is. As a thriller it does serve its purpose well and probably won't disappoint anybody that is looking for a good thriller.

In its simplicity and setup, this is being a quite effective thriller, in which a cop starts terrorizing a family, when he falls for the wife. Things are slowly starting to get worse and more troublesome for the family. The way the entire movie gets buildup ensures that the tension of the movie works out effectively. It's basically being one of those stalker movies, a lot got made of, during the '80's and '90's. This happens to be one of the lesser known ones but it most certainly is not among the worst ones as well. You could even say that this is being a bit of an underrated and under-appreciated movie.

This movie also made me realize what a shame and waste it was that Ray Liotta's career never truly reached great heights. There was a period, around the time of this movie, that he truly was an A-list actor but he never really managed to maintain this status and there are too few classics, starring him, to consider his career to be a truly successful one. There was far more in it really. It's not like he has stopped acting but it's hard to imaging his career is still going to take off now. He was an absolutely great and charismatic presence and villain in this movie and almost completely stole the show away from other fine actors such as Kurt Russell and Madeleine Stowe.

This really is being a good, straightforward, old fashioned thriller, that is definitely worth a watch.


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The cop from hell
george.schmidt23 April 2003
UNLAWFUL ENTRY (1992) **1/2 Kurt Russell, Ray Liotta, Madeleine Stowe. Okay thriller with cop from hell Liotta obsessed with Russell's wife Stowe and the extent he'll go to make their lives a living hell. Standard thrills with a little too much at film's end a la Jason from "Friday the 13th".
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LAPD and Their Rogue Cops
view_and_review9 April 2020
Warning: Spoilers
The LAPD has been responsible for many an atrocity in their history, but the stuff that Officer Pete Davis got away with is even extreme for them.

When a burglar broke into Michael (Jeff Bridges) and Karen Carr's (Madeline Stowe) home and held Karen at knife point they called the police. Officers Roy Cole (Roger E. Mosley) and Pete Davis (Ray Liotta) responded. Pete was instantly smitten by Karen. Not only was Pete a cop, but he also installed high end security systems which he did for the Carrs. He put in a top of the line system and gave them all kinds of security tips which made the couple feel a little indebted to him. A lunch invite later and Pete was a permanent fixture. But his eyes and heart were set on Karen.

What he did from that lunch date on is what took the cake. To get Michael out of the way Pete somehow:

~ maxed out Michael's credit cards

~ got Michael's car booted

~ chased off Michael's biggest client with police inquiries

Then Pete kicked it into high gear by:

~ killing his own partner of seven years because he told Pete to cool it

~ planting drugs into Michael's house

~ getting a search warrant for the house

~ getting Michael arrested

~ and finally, killing Karen's friend Penny (Deborah Offner)

Even if I granted Pete the first three crimes, the last five were a stretch. But we had to advance the plot and we had to establish how dangerous and psycho he was. Mission accomplished.

Even though I shook my head at some of the stuff Pete got away with, I definitely was emotionally invested in seeing him be dealt with harshly. Whether Michael beat him up, burned him up, or shot him up made no difference to me, I wanted blood. Ray Liotta did such a good job he had me seeing red as though I was being violated.

The emotional attachment was there. I'm sure director Jonathan Kaplan and cast wanted to do exactly what they did: pull me in. They pulled me in alright, like a massive oceanic undertow. All that remained was the finale. Would they give me the satisfaction I so sorely needed and deserved? Yes, yes, YES! They absolutely did. There would be no arrest and a trial. Michael did what any man in his position would do; he pointed the gun at the monstrous leech, pulled the trigger, and kept pulling until no bullets remained. That was satisfaction. Such sweet satisfaction.
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Watchable, not great.
bombersflyup27 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Unlawful Entry's plot is foreshadowed at the beginning and fails to deviate or even escalate beyond.

The cop that you call for help that won't go away, indeed a scary notion. The film lacks vision though and Ray Liotta as the villain, doesn't give much of a performance. Pete's actions initially make sense in getting into their lives, which I assume he arranged the brake-in. To get close with Karen and have Michael fall apart, but then to have him put in prison's just not going to work. You can't be the reason he's gone, she has to be. Karen's not going to enjoy your company in that situation and obviously not after killing her friend. If he just wanted her regardless, why's he cooking and listening to her. The beautiful Madeleine Stowe never disappoints, but Kurt Russell didn't fit the role or make it work. Not to mention some of that attire, my god.
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Seven Letters....figure it out...
FlashCallahan22 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
After a break-in at their house, a couple gets help from one of the cops that answered their call.

He helps them install the security system, and begins dropping by on short notice and unofficial patrol, and spends a lot of time discussing the couple's problems with the wife.

The husband begins wondering if they're getting too much help...

Lets face it, when this film was released, anyone who was offered help from Ray Liotta was asking for trouble.

It's a great entry into the sub-genre of nice strangers who turn psycho, and one of the last good ones. Fear in 1996 was a good addition, but since then we haven't had a decent one (The resident was the pits).

It's a slice of early nineties cheese, especially because it's round about that time when the nineties was still trying to be the eighties, so the yuppie context coming from Russell is rife throughout.

But him and Liotta are on fire here, and there is a little homophobic subtext between the two when they are bonding.

The Ray gets a little out of hand and starts acting a bit freaky and Kurt blows a fuse. He gets framed for something he didn't do and due to him having all his cards cancelled cannot get bail to be with his wife.

This is where the film goes a bit silly. Liotta kills his partner for the reason being that he's probably done this before (we never get to find out) and he's going to tell his boss.

Then he cooks dinner for Stowe (who is excellent in this), knowing that she is freaked out beyond her mind. the man may be crazy, but i'm sure he' not stupid.

The film then does the classic 'is he dead?' thing and before the payoff happens, Liotta has time to say something cool.

The build up is fantastic, it's expertly made and looks like a lot of money has been thrown at it. The actors are all great and it's one of Hollywoods best Adult Psycho Thrillers, along with Pacific Heights, Single white Female, and anything Michael Douglas starred in circa 1987-1994.
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Formulaic, but fun enough and worthwhile viewing
The_Void15 October 2006
Unlawful Entry is by no means a great film; not even by genre standards, but it still stands out as a more than adequate example of the genre, and aptly portrays the basic thriller tradition. Next to thrillers from the same period; films like Basic Instinct, Unlawful Entry may seem a little tame, but as it puts the focus on its trio of central characters, the film becomes more interesting than it would have if experienced director Jonathan Kaplan had tried for more action and sex scenes. The film portrays the frightening idea of someone 'above the law' abusing their power for their own means, and does this through police officer Pete Davis. The action centres on married couple Michael and Karen Carr, who call the police one night after a thief breaks in and holds the wife to knife point. However, it turns out that they've actually made things worse for themselves as the officer sent to the house takes a liking to Karen, and thus makes it his business to infiltrate their relationship and try to take Michael's wife for himself...

It has to be said that the film doesn't offer much in the way of surprises, as the plot is purely formulaic and can be likened to any number of similar films, but somehow the familiarity of the plot gives it something of a relaxed feel, and while experienced movie watchers will feel that they've seen it all before, the film is carried off with enough panache to see it through. Unlawful Entry relies a lot on its actors, and the three at the centre of the story manage to deliver worthwhile performances. Kurt Russell gets toned down in his role as the unlucky husband, while Madeleine Stowe doesn't get to do any heavyweight acting, but at least looks nice. The pair doesn't really have any chemistry together, which is a shame and brings the piece down - but this is offset by a conniving Ray Liotta, who manages to get under the skin despite looking a bit like David Hasselhoff. The film is always interested, but never really intriguing; although the plot does work well and the ending is fitting in context. Overall, this is not great or a must see film; but its decent enough and I don't regret watching it.
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Good performances and direction undone by a lousy script
Mr-Fusion23 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Sixteen years before "Lakeview Terrace", there was "Unlawful Entry". And the two are rather similar, except instead of Samuel L. Jackson terrorizing a young neighboring couple because of their lifestyle, it's Ray Liotta doing the terrorizing because he can't have the good-looking wife.

After a low-rent thug breaks into the house of Kurt Russell and Madeline Stowe, LAPD officer Ray Liotta arrives on the scene (and immediately has eyes for Stowe). Liotta cozies up to the couple, hooking them up with an alarm system and slowly ingraining himself into their lives. But it doesn't take long for Russell to suspect there's something not quite right about Liotta, and tries to distance them from the questionable officer, a particular cop who doesn't take kindly to being jilted.

You can see where it goes from there, and that's what ultimately sinks "Unlawful Entry" (for me, at least). Ray Liotta plays unhinged pretty damn well, and Kurt Russell is his usual bounty of charisma. And Jonathan Kaplan uses all manner of tracking shots, jump scares and lingering camera moves to create a palpable tension. But Lewis Colick's screenplay makes it pretty obvious how this story will unfurl (Liotta's introduction is what gives away the movie), and sometimes things don't make sense.

For instance, if Liotta's partner (Roger Mosley) knows that he's fixated on Stowe, then why doesn't he address it? Instead he waits for Russell to beg him for help, and this problem never reaches their superiors. His partner's not too bright, in the grand scheme of things. And Madeline Stowe is painted as some helpless victim, always scared until her husband gets home.

"Unlawful Entry's" strength, therefore, is seeing all of the nasty ways Liotta terrorizes Russell. Like maxing out his credit cards, booting his car, planting coke in his house. But none of these characters are sympathetic, so what do I care that two affluent white people are being terrorized? It's the kind of thriller that feels tawdry in the end, leaving a mildly bad taste in my mouth.

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"What are you gonna do? Make a citizen's arrest?" Powerful performances overtake a mediocre script...
MovieAddict201613 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
"Unlawful Entry" is essentially another thriller about an unstable everyman who latches onto others. It's been done before, it'll be done again, but this entry into the genre has a catch - good acting. I'm not sure if good acting can save a film, but long after the plot starts to wear thin you'll find yourself paying attention to the performances, especially that of Ray Liotta, whose role of Henry Hill in "Goodfellas" (1990) is shining through in this movie. Well, not really, but after being put on the witness protection program at the end of "Goodfellas," perhaps this is Henry Hill's new job in life.

Michael Carr (Kurt Russell) and his wife, Karen (Madeleine Stowe), have just started to make themselves feel at home in their new house located around the outskirts of LA. One busy night a burglar breaks in through a window and, after a mild skirmish, holds a knife to Karen's throat. He gets away, they call 911, and moments later a police officer named Peter (Ray Liotta) arrives. He advises that they get better security for their home, which they do (with the help of his expertise). They invite him over to dinner to show their appreciation.

Pete invites Michael to come on a drive with him on his usual rounds as a cop. But he has a surprise - he's found the burglar, and he wants Michael to beat him up. "I'm not doing this," he says, refusing. Pete doesn't understand his hesitation, and proceeds to pummel the robber.

Considering Michael a coward, Pete convinces himself that Karen wants a braver, stronger man in her life. So he hides a stash of drugs in Michael's house and gives an anonymous tip-off to the LAPD, who storm into Michael's house, find the drugs, and throw him in jail with a 250,000 dollar bail.

Meanwhile, Pete moves in on Karen and tries to make her his own - but Michael's vengeance is boiling, and with the help of his lawyer he gets out on bail and chases down Pete, in a final bloody brawl.

Psychological thrillers like these come around often - from "Single White Female" to "Fatal Attraction" to last year's "Swimfan." They're all preaching the same thing - be careful of stalkers and friendly do-gooders. They're probably psychologically troubled. Of course, in the real world when someone does something nice for you, this doesn't mean you should pull a knife on them. But with the flooding of these stalker flicks pouring into Hollywood, I'm sure it'll only be a matter of time until people don't even trust the police.

And that's basically the simple little premise behind this film. It works on a better level than most of its kind because the plotting is a bit more thought-provoking - if the one person you're supposed to be able to turn to isn't on your side, who is?

Ray Liotta gives a terrifyingly real performance in this film, measuring up there with Robert De Niro's troubled taxi driver and Anthony Perkins' homicidal mother figure. But "Psycho" (1960) and "Taxi Driver" (1976) had much stronger scripts. In the end, "Unlawful Entry" succumbs to a lower level than one would hope for, turning into the over-the-top climatic thriller where the hero manages to kill the stalker, only for him to get up one last time. "Unlawful Entry" does, in the end, resort to the one thing it marginally avoided throughout its entire running time: Mediocrity.

I loved one of the last lines, though: "What are you gonna do? Make a citizen's arrest?"
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Bad Copper, Not Good Copper
Chrysanthepop3 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
'Unlawful Entry' is a typical average thriller from the early 90s. There's the suspense element in the beginning and over-the-top ending where there's lots of running around and breaking things, the killer dies, gets alive for a second just to be brutally killed again. I thought it started well, particularly the opening sequence with the skillful cinematography that adds to the tension and this is followed by the introduction of Liotta's character who seems the friendly cop until things gradually unfold. It is Liotta that made 'Unlawful' entry worth the watch. The actor does a great job (except in the ending when everything is blown out of proportion but that's the director's fault) as he slowly unveils the darker shades of his character. Kurt Russel and Madeleine Stowe are okay. Stowe looks quite pretty. anyway, this is another typical thriller and with the exception of Liotta's performance, there's nothing much to look forward to.
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Max Cady returns as an officer in a trite TV movie-like !
elshikh42 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The direction, the production, the cinematography of it.. well, none shows something more than "decent". With boldness, and not much of talent, Kurt Russell took the role of the innocent protagonist, not the flashy antagonist. Anyway, Ray Liotta wiped him off the screen. And Madeleine Stowe wasn't less talented herself. But, again, greatness isn't anywhere close. So, in brief, this movie has just 2 points that overstepped decent to distinct.

Firstly, it's another modern-day (Cape Fear). The book-smart peaceable vs. The street-smart provocative. In (Cape Fear - 1962), the stalker was a sadist criminal who, after feeling wronged by certain social class, cannonades his revenge. (Play Misty for Me - 1971) came to put a lot of absolute craziness, and a lot of true love, to the mix. Now one year after a remake of the original, (Cape Fear - 1991), (Unlawful Entry) comes along as a new entry, with sly psychopathic lover, who happens to be a police officer.

Here, the distractive power gets a long legal hand. It fits as a thrilling device; at one point, the criminal / officer gets the book-smart peaceable husband into jail easily. Furthermore, it could work in terms of being a satire towards twisted cops, even if lightly.

Secondly, the cell phone of Russell's character. Oh my god, here's something for the historians. It exemplifies how cinema, one way or another, chronicles the world's details. Sure, back then, they had to rent a lorry to convey that *cell* along the way!

The thing is everything was light. At one moment, the husband is seduced by the force of the dark side, but of course nothing of that matter was well explored or utilized. Because the movie cared more of providing swearing and nudity. It chose earlier being a routinely-made pure commercial movie, not urban horror with anything deep.

So, this time, Max Cady reincarnates as a desperately in love officer, and Kurt Russell, as many people in 1992, had a giant brick as a cell phone. Save that, it's a trite TV movie with swearing, nudity, and names of Hollywood stars.
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mattkratz2 March 2001
Warning: Spoilers
The best part of this film is Ray Liotta's performance. He gives it his all as the psychotic cop who terrorizes Kurt Russell and Madeiline Stowe.

Possible spoiler ahead. Proceed at your own risk.

We have all seen this formula countless times before- Character A needs help, and suddenly Character B is available. B helps A, they become friends, etc. Soon, however, B becomes obssessed with A and insists on being involved with every aspect of A's life. Character C tries to help character A, but B senses it and lets C get too confident. Soon, something terrible happens to C, courtesy of B. A soon wises up, however, and after a fight (during which B revives at least once and grabs A by the ankle), finally gets rid of B. How many times have we seen this in a movie?

Fortunately, this movie executes it well. See it if you get the chance.

** 1/2 out of ****
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Liotta is excellent in this best of the bunch Thriller
amesmonde19 May 2011
A couple are befriended by a police officer who answers their burglary call, but his attentions increase to a point of obsession and he beings to make their lives uncomfortably difficult pushing them both to breaking point.

Released the same year as spate of 1992 thrillers including Single White Female, Basic Instinct, Traces of Red, Consenting Adults and Final Analysis name a few Unlawful Entry is a tighter than the aforementioned. It's easy to knock a film in retrospect, as it's been done so many times since but at the time while not totally original it encompassed the best of the genre. Jonathan Kaplan delivers a very entertaining obsession flick and while borrowing elements from Pacific Heights (1990),Cape Fear (1991) & (1962) Lewis Colick's screenplay plays out interesting character developments and arcs especially as Kurt Russell's Michael Carr unravels and Ray Liotta's Pete Davis unveils.

Liotta is perfect as Davis an unbalanced police officer and Russell hams it up, debatably a little too much, as the aggravated husband. There's an overlooked supporting cast, including Ken Lerner and Madeleine Stowe in her heyday. James Horner's score is strong and of its time and it all adds up to an engaging thriller that would later be emulated in Lakeview Terrace (2008) and The Fan (1996).

Worth viewing if only for the underrated Liotta in one of his better roles.
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Excellent creepy suspense thriller
NateWatchesCoolMovies8 August 2015
Unlawful Entry is a tense, uncomfortable home invasion thriller where the intruder is the one person who should protect you from that sort of thing: a police officer. It's a perfect concept for a thriller and here its executed to spine tingling effect, through great performances and an intimately hair raising atmosphere. Kurt Russell and Madeleine Stowe play a well to do yuppie couple whose house is broken into by a petty thief one night. The officer who answers their call the next day (Ray Liotta) is friendly, helpful and goes out of his way to ensure that a security system is installed and that they feel safe. His kindness takes a creepy turn though, when he sets his sights on beautiful Stowe, Russell's wife. He gets scarier and scarier, eventually becoming totally unhinged and zoning right in on her with volatile lust and unhealthy sociopathic obsession that tears all three lives apart. Liotta is scary good, and his eerie transformation from likable upstanding guy to violent stalker madman is something from a nightmare. Some scenes are downright nasty to keep your eyes on, and you really feel sick watching Stowe get exposed to this cruelty. She's darkly radiant as always though, and Russell shows fear and fury in an awesome role that isn't an easy one to play. Domestic thrillers are a dime a dozen, and often can descend into seedy melodrama, but this one takes the high road and uses genuine skill and well orchestrated tension to glue us in our seats.
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Well-constructed but lacks depth
gcd701 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Released at the height of the thriller crazed early nineties was this relatively run of the mill flick about a young police officer's obsession with a wealthy entrepreneur's wife. Director Kaplan has surprised us by switching from the highly controversial drama "The Accused" ( which he handled superbly ) to this narrow, formulated script by Lewis Colick ( from an original story by Colick, John Katchmer and George D. Putnam ). Kaplan is really never tested by this film whose twists are easy to second guess and whose conclusion is always quite clear.

Ray Liotta does his very best as the bent cop "Pete", and he is at times quite menacing, though he is never able to get right into what is an under developed character. Kurt Russell is also convincing as terrorised husband "Michael" who feels helpless to stop the invasion of the out of control officer, while his wife "Karen" is played fairly well by Madeline Stowe, though for a major character we see little of her. Good support too form Roger E. Mosley as Pete's partner Roy Cole.

A shame none of the above thesps could lift Kaplan's show above the 'better than average'. Yes, everything is well constructed, yet there are no surprises and a distinct lack of depth, and so a lack of audience sympathy. Editor Curtiss Clayton is efficient while James Horner provides the score.

Saturday, November 16, 1996 - T.V.
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Great 90's thriller
dworldeater10 March 2015
Unlawful Entry is a solid 90's thriller that is beautifully shot, has tight direction and excellent performances from the cast. Kurt Russell and Madeline Stowe are an upper class couple and victims of a home invasion. They call the police and end up befriending policeman Ray Liotta. Kurt ends up going on a ride along with Ray and his partner. He then realizes Ray is a bit crazy and makes an effort to distance himself and his wife from him. This is a no go as Liotta is also obsessed with Kurt's wife and I can hardly blame him as Madeline Stowe is stunning. Kurt's character is pretty far removed from the tough, action movie characters he is used to playing. He shows great range here and gives a convincing performance as a yuppie everyman. Ray Liotta is great here as a psycho cop looking for love in all the wrong places. He frequently abuses his power throughout the course of the film and events then escalate to a violent climax. Madeline Stowe give an excellent performance as well and shows vulnerability with her character. Unlawful Entry is a great thriller and one I really think was done well.
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fmwongmd31 January 2020
A so so thriller without any surprises. Acting by Ray Liotta and Kurt Russell is unremarkable.
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A dime a dozen. (spoilers)
vertigo_1429 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
These kind of movies where a psycho of one variety or another tries to damage the reputation (and eventually eliminate altogether) some naive person in order to take over their life. Fatal Attraction, Pacific Heights, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Single White Female, and a thousand made-for-TV movies are some examples of this. But while a few, especially Fatal Attraction and Pacific Heights could offer at least some extremely paranoid, suspenseful characters or a few plot twists, Unlawful Entry plays everything by the book. And were it not for the notoriety of its stars (Kurt Russel, Ray Liota, and Madeline Stowe), this movie would sink to mediocrity faster than a Danielle Steele miniseries.

Russel plays Michael Carr, an incessantly naive guy who calls on the help of a pair of officers when someone breaks into his house and tries to attack his wife (Madeline Stowe). Unfortunately, he quietly vents his anger about feeling so helpless in the situation to the wrong cop (Ray Liotta), a typically psychopathic villain with no limits for his power. At first empathizing with Carr (probably only pretending to do so), the cop befriends the couple. But soon enough, the cops wants Carr out of the way so, destroying the guys life nearly any way he can (which is pretty easy when you're a cop, and when you're the cop who has installed the guy's security system in his house) in order to take over and presumably, get his wife. It seems less ends-oriented, and more like the cop just wants to prove his power. The wife is more like a trophy, in other words, than an end. And the story plays out entirely by the book, you can probably predict every occurrence before it happens on the screen if you've seen enough of these movies. From the "shocking" moment our main, naive character realizes he is a victim of credit card fraud (perpetrated by the psychopathic villain) to the turn-around-he's-not-really-dead finale.
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One Bad Cop, One Bad Movie.
nycritic15 June 2006
Sometimes a premise starts out good, but because of the demands of having to go overboard to meet the demands of an audience suffering from attention-deficit disorder, it devolves into an incongruous mess. And for three well-respected actors who have made better work before and after, this is a mortal shame.

So let's see. Premise: a loving couple who lives in a beautiful home is threatened by a bad cop. Interesting to say the least. Make the encroaching cop a little disturbing, why not. It was well done in THE HAND WHO ROCKS THE CRADLE and SINGLE WHITE FEMALE, and it's a proved ticket to a successful thriller.

Now herein lies the dilemma. Create a disturbing story that actually bothers to bring some true menace into its main characters while never going so far as to look ridiculous, or throw any semblance to reality, amp up the shock factor, and make this cop so extreme -- an ultra bad variation of every other super-villain that's hit cinemas since the silent age.

The producers, and directors, chose the latter. Thus is the resulting film -- badly made, with actors trying their darnedest to make heads or tails in roles that they've essayed before, and nothing much amounting to even less.
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