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Jesse V. Johnson
Mr. Ozaki, a Japanese conglomerate businessman living in Los Angeles, hires a beautiful young double (Maria) to protect his real daughter (Lisa) from harm. When Maria is kidnapped by a professional crime organization for a $2 million ransom, her bodyguard, Luke Campbell, conceives a plan to rescue her. By kidnapping the real Lisa Ozaki and turning her over to the kidnappers, Luke hopes to save Maria, and ultimately Lisa, as he knows her father will only pay the ransom for his daughter and not the double. However, the bodyguards hired to watch Lisa have another plan in mind. About to lose their jobs for losing Lisa when they were supposed to keep an eye on her at all times, they decide to steal the ransom money and rescue Lisa, in an attempt to be the heroes and save their jobs.Written by
Christa Hamilton <CHamilton19@aol.com>
Someone somewhere has probably compiled a list of all the films that begin with an aerial shot of a city landscape. It will have taken them a long time because it will undoubtedly be a long, long list. Every hack movie-maker with a budget large enough to cover the rental charge for the chopper, it seems, feels obliged to climb aboard the bandwagon. Not that director Shundo Ohkawa is a talentless hack: 24 Hours to Die is a competently enough made actioner with some interesting locations, but there's nothing here you haven't seen countless times before.
Louis Mandylor (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), plays Luke Campbell an ex-cop turned bodyguard working for a wealthy Japanese executive who fears for his daughter's safety after a rash of kidnappings of Japanese executive's family members. Rather than actually minding his daughter, however, Mandylor drives a decoy around Los Angeles and manages not only to allow her to be kidnapped (while he's doing a spot of shopping), but also get his ex-partner killed into the bargain. When he discovers the ungrateful Jap executive refuses to pay the ransom for the decoy, Campbell decides the only way to resolve the situation is by kidnapping the right girl and trading her with the kidnappers for his decoy.
This is one of those movies where everybody chooses the most difficult and usually stupidest option when deciding what to do next: the Jap executive hires an English girl to play the part of his daughter's double and while she is chauffeur-driven around Los Angeles sipping champagne, allows his real daughter to go surfing unprotected with her buddies; instead of working with the police or attempting to pressure the executive, Campbell decides to kidnap his daughter; and as for the kidnappers, when you think about it, their plot is so ridiculously convoluted that it defies belief.
Director Ohkawa seems to think that the key to success, when saddled with a tiny budget and actors of only moderate talent, is to imitate every hip crime flick of the past decade. We're therefore treated to a couple of rival bodyguards dressed like the gang members from Reservoir Dogs but without any of the smart dialogue or characterisation. The movie's half-hearted attempts at humour are as false as the boobs on the stripper at the King Henry VIII bar, in which the film's 'big' name Udo Kier makes a brief appearance. The plot twists come thick and fast, and each is that much more outlandish than the last, until the whole thing becomes just plain silly and you start feeling embarrassed for the actors. Apart from Rei Kikukawa, that is, who enunciates.. each word . so . very .. slowly and . deliberately . that .. the other . actors .. have .. trouble . maintaining .. their expressions while they wait for her to finish reciting her lines. She's a pretty girl, and she might be a terrific actress when speaking Japanese, but she just doesn't belong in an English-speaking role. As for her father, his accent is so thick it's virtually impossible to understand what he's saying most of the time.
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