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Phoenix (1998)

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A cop (Liotta) with a gambling addiction plots a theft from the bookies who are putting pressure on him to pay off or else.

Director:

Danny Cannon

Writer:

Eddie Richey
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ray Liotta ... Harry Collins
Anthony LaPaglia ... Mike Henshaw
Daniel Baldwin ... James Nutter
Jeremy Piven ... Fred Shuster
Royce D. Applegate ... Dickerman
Xander Berkeley ... Lt. Clyde Webber
Tamara Clatterbuck ... Waitress
Vanessa Munday Vanessa Munday ... Betsy
Al Sapienza ... Cop
Yvette Cruise ... Maria
John Henry Whitaker ... Husband
Glenn Morshower ... Anti-Abortionist
Brittany Murphy ... Veronica
George Murdock ... Sid
Kathryn Joosten ... Esther
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Storyline

In Phoenix, Arizona, all is not well at the local police station as some of the colleagues are not good of heart. Superstitious cop Harry Collins is on the take. He a compulsive gambler who is forced to plan a heist with fellow cops Mike, James, and Fred to rip off local pimp and overall bad guy, Louie, to pay off gambling debts run up with "bookie" Chicago. Written by Chris Foster <cf@chrisfoster.prestel.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In this town, the heat can kill you.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 September 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Corrupção em Phoenix See more »

Filming Locations:

Phoenix, Arizona, USA

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$31,500, 4 September 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$43,071, 13 September 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Harry Collins: Never welsh on a bet.
See more »

Connections

References King Kong (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

Mas y Mas
Written by David Hidalgo & Louie Perez (as Louis Perez)
Performed by Los Lobos
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

Bad Cable Action Cinema At Its Best!
10 June 2001 | by jayandsjoshSee all my reviews

Did you ever see one of those awful action thrillers or crime dramas (where, as Jon Stewart once pointed out, "all the action takes place in a strip club"), usually starring Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Rutger Hauer, Michael Madsen, or some refugee from the Brat Pack, on late night cable? Well, "Phoenix" is the "Chinatown" of those movies. Which, in case you miss my meaning, means it's really quite good.

This is a supremely fun film if you like (or hate but have seen) any of these B action flicks. It should be used in film schools when teaching this overlooked genre ("Contemporary exploitation films," they'd probably call them.). This movie has a loan shark, a bookie, crooked cops, bagmen, a strip joint that figures prominently in the plot, a sultry siren in bed with everybody, a cleverly masked heist, a lucky fill-in-the-blank item, a burned out beauty with a sexy jailbait daughter, and a hero with a chance at redemption, if only he can keep from screwing everything up. This movie's got everything, and that's the point.

Ray Liotta stars (in, for my money, the best performance of his career) and, although one of the aforementioned crooked cops, has an incorruptible sense of honor. For example, he has accumulated a substantial gambling debt, but won't let anyone else pay it off or make it go away because he refuses to "welsh." It's a piece of advice given to him by his late gambler father, you'll probably not be surprised to learn.

The plot is, to pay off the sizable debt, Liotta and three of his fellow crooked cops mastermind a heist in a strip club where everything goes wrong while they wear funny animal masks. "But," as I often tell people, "it's not like it sounds."

If you're still not convinced, the fact that Anjelica Huston is a part of this film's great cast should tell you something. Also, watch out for the amazing Tom Noonan as a lisping bookie and a scene with Giovanni Ribisi where you can see the conclusion coming but is still satisfying even if you've already figured it out because of Liotta's intense performance.

3 out of 4 stars on the fun scale. (Probably less on the quality scale.)


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