What spoils the overall mood of the movie from time to time, and holds it back from being a masterpiece, are the lame scenes with the protagonist's sister investigating with the help of an American official and Romanian police officer et al. Without them, the movie would be a far more solid work. I guess they were shot to pad out the duration of the movie.
I am not also very happy with the look of Radu's mother who seems too much like a Tales of the Crypt character.
Nevertheless, thanks to wisely not bringing back the 'good, handsome vampire' Stephan and hence building the movie around Radu and Michelle, and thanks to excellent cinematography as I have already emphasized, this rises not only above direct-to-video standards, but would have hold its ground if it were a theatrical release. I wish I could see it in big screen, where it deserved to be seen.
Scenes without her (thankfully, very sparse) really seem like filler material to pad out the movie's duration. ps: the downside of the movie is that, even though it is very gory, all the gore is via very fake-looking cgi.
Above summary is the gist of the movie. If such a deplorable premise is not bad enough, the lead actor, Eric Roberts in his screen debut, aggravates this mess with his awful acting, esp. when he is in fits of anger. The guy who plays the bad father does not put up a very bad performance though. Susan Sarandon, who plays the mother, is very good-looking, but she can't help looking fake in all this stereotyping.
For Brooke Shields fans like me who may go for this movie just for her: She doesn't appear at all in the first 40 minutes or so and has got three scenes later on. She is largely a bystander in the first two, but has a major presence towards the end.
For fairness, the only merit of the movie is the music.
The croc effects are quite good, a combination of real props and cgi. However, croc attack scenes are few and the croc's appearances are mostly limited to the first encounter of the heroes with it in a sewer early in the movie and the finale. Moreover, the croc's killing of people are off-screen.
The fat and short (and perhaps somewhat effeminate) journalist provides most of the comedic aspects.
The plus side of the movie, apart from the above-mentioned good sfx, is that the blonde female lead (a former German model and TV personality named Doreen Jacobi) is good-looking and provides an incentive to keep on watching the movie in the croc-free portions as well. The always welcome Jennifer Ulrich (of Wir sind the Nacht, a recent German female vampire movie, fame) is also on board as the croc hunter's daughter and even bares her breasts in one scene.
This is a relatively light-hearted crocodile-on-rampage movie as it doesn't feature much gore even though the croc does kill a few people. The cgi is not bad at all (much better than the recent Z-grade American croc films if you set your standards at that low level), but it still shows itself to be cgi in some scenes.
The highlight of the movie is when the croc enters a house, rampaging through a stairway, breaking through the walls and even assaulting people who had taken shelter at the roof. Subsequent scenes in which a croc trainer challenges and tries to subdue the giant beast just with a large stick are also very interesting; being a croc movie fan and having watched about two dozen croc movies so far, I had never seen such a scene before in any other croc movie.
There is a heavy dose of intentional comedy, some of which is tolerable and some of which is pretty pathetic.
Brooke Shields plays the victim and proves that she can act provided with a decent script and/or solid direction. To me, this movie testifies that her dismal performances in sub-par movies in this era of her career has to be blamed more on sub-par scripts and directors.
Unfortunately, the currently available DVD from a Canadian label called New Star Video under the title Stalking Laura has got horrible image and sound quality despite the box claiming "Digitally Remastered - Enhanced Audio": It actually looks and sounds like a rip from a 2nd gen. VHS dupe.
Originally aired on CBS network under the full title I Can Make You Love Me: The Stalking of Laura Black as a Tuesday movie.
The movie is watchable if approached with low expectations. The basic premise of the story is very promising (a young female filmmaker making a documentary about a conservationist raising two orphaned leopard cubs) and yet it has been scripted in a very incompetent manner, with lame dialog, not-fleshed out plot developments, etc. The acting is also high school performance level, unfortunately especially in Shields' case, but you may never know if it is because of the incompetent script or of any inherent incompetence of Shields. Yet, real wildlife scenes with the cubs are outstanding and make the movie worth a view.
Is Shields attractive in this movie? There is no intentional glamorization of her appearance here and I don't really like her bleached hair color at all. Yet, it is Brooke Shields in her late late 20s after all and you know what I mean. Plus, it is a nice bonus to see her intermingling with leopard cubs. By the way, Shields was no stranger to Africa, having ventured to a safari in Kenya for the TV series Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous in 1984.
The movie isn't really bad at all. O'Malley plays a street thug who has an autistic son and Brooke Shields plays an idealist student who volunteers to help the kid. Naturally, a romance blossoms, but the guy's past doesn't let him go his own way too easily, so there is some action as well. The acting is decent (perhaps I should say the acting looks decent as I watched this in a Turkish dubbed version and cannot vouch for actual dialog performances). The story is very predictable, but so what? I especially liked the parts where the father was trying to interact with his son.
Did the movie kick off O'Malley's career and help Shields' career to bounce back? No. After an apparently very limited North American theatrical release in 1990, it went to video the next year and was soon forgotten. Interestingly, the movie also seems to have been theatrically released in Italy, but that was probably due the presence of Anthony Franciosa in the cast. The movie remains unreleased on DVD as of yet and it is too bad that, outside of the undistinguished posters, only one rather bland looking photo still with Brooke Shields (embraced by O'Malley) circulate on the web. Actually, there are some very nice scenes with her throughout the movie. A cosy one where she sits with the kid among neighbors singing, for instance. And a night scene with O'Malley when they have their first night out by a pool. Those are the instances which Brooke fans should check.
The plot is about a search for some sunken gold. As an adventure flick, you'd probably want to fast-forward it most of the time, if not stop and eject the disc all together, if she wasn't the star and non-fans of Brooke would probably do that, but, as I said above, only her fans would track this movie down anyway and it is unlikely that non-fans would be aware of its existence. Speaking of the disc, the visual quality of the American DVD (from Image Entertainment) is below average for DVD standards and looks like a transfer from a VHS source. The movie, originally made for US TV, was theatrically released in some European countries such as in Germany in 1986 and in Spain in 1987 (where it flopped with less than 50 thousand tickets sold) and I wish I could see it in big screen.