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During a routine case in L.A., NY private investigator Harry D'Amour stumbles over members of a fanatic cult, who are waiting for the resurrection of their leader Nix. 13 years ago, Nix was gunned down by his best trainee Swann. In the meantime Swann is advanced to a popular illusionist like David Copperfield and is married to the charming Dorothea. She hires D'Amour to protect Swann against the evil cult members. A short time later Swann is killed by one of his own tricks and the occurrences are turning over, and it crackles between Dorothea and D'Amour.Written by
Sam Beckett <email@example.com>
The final shot of the film, Harry and Dorthea looking out into the desert, is an homage to the final shot in Fulci's The Beyond. See more »
When D'amour throws Nix down the hole at the end, you can see that the hole is not rock but burlap walled. See more »
There are two worlds of magic. One is the glittering domain of the illusionist. The other is a secret place, where magic is a terrifying reality. Here, men have the power of demons. And Death itself is an illusion.
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The DVD version features the Director's Cut. In addition to the longer version, the DVD also has some additional deleted scenes in the supplemental features section. These are all in rough form (no soundtrack, no post-production):
more scenes set in Nix's compound, showing Jennifer and Maureen meeting a few of Nix's cult followers;
a longer version of the scene where D'Amour and Billy break into the magician's repository. Harry briefly talks to Billy about his dead wife;
Dorothea trying to reach Harry on the phone, then watching TV in her house after Swann's death and starting to cry;
While magician Nix entertains his young audience by holding fire and even juggling it, Philip Swann and others are rescuing young Dorothea, who has been kidnapped and is being held in the same building. In the process of getting the girl out, Nix is killed--or is he? 13 years later, New York private detective Harry D'Amour is hired to go to Los Angeles to work on an insurance fraud case. He visits a fortune teller and is shocked to see a man dying violently. There may be a connection between this death and Swann, who is now married to Dorothea.
Valentin works for Swann and wants D'Amour to meet with Dorothea, who wants D'Amour to work for him (and also looks good in a swimsuit). D'Amour goes to one of Swann's shows, where one of the illusions doesn't go as planned. This gives Swann something to investigate. An interesting investigation follows.
My primary motive for watching this movie was seeing Scott Bakula, who I liked in 'Quantum Leap'. D'Amour is intelligent and a smart-aleck, sometimes funny, with just the right mix of confidence and vulnerability; he did not disappoint. Had I judged the movie from just its first 10 minutes, to paraphrase a line spoken by one of Dorothea's rescuers, I would have said bury this thing deep where it can never again be found. The same applies to the horrifying, graphically violent ending. And there is plenty of blood and gore in between the opening and the final scenes. I'm pretty sure the language was cleaned up for UPN as well--who actually would say 'Forget you' in a theatrical film? Sometimes the audio didn't sound right in situations where profanity would be expected.
The movie had redeeming qualities, though. Kevin O'Connor showed confidence onstage but often seemed afraid or nervous otherwise--I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and call that good acting. Vincent Schiavelli had a brief but effective scene as an illusionist in a meeting with others practicing the profession. Joel Swetow was good as Valentin.
Although they were not what I would call entertaining, I would say the visual effects were quality work. Certainly the gore factor was quite high, but someone did an impressive job with what is called morphing.
And Daniel von Bargen did an outstanding job as the very frightening Nix. I did not like the character at all, but one has to be impressed with the talent shown.
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