30 March 2008 | rsoonsa
A Story Of Romantic Confidence Trickery That Never Quite Holds Fast.
Dedee Pfeiffer, an undervalued actress who has found it tough going to withdraw from beneath the shadow of her celebrated sister Michelle, has nonetheless achieved substantial success in works that generally offer little in the way of viewer pleasure, such as in the instance of this moderately absorbing but hardly memorable crime flavoured melodrama that is flattened at the hands of weak direction, a limply structured script, and a lead actor suffering from deficiencies in charisma and proficiency. Cameron King (Miles O'Keefe), who is conducting an illicit gambling operation upon the top floor of his nightclub, has also illegally come into possession of the "Emperor's Pearl", a legendary gem coveted by many, and has organized a private auction for a wealthy handpicked few to submit bids upon the jewel, but several difficulties arise for King as the transfer date nears, most seemingly involving an attractive photographer, Katie (Pfeiffer) who has aggressively wormed her way into a job at the night spot, taking photographs of customers, while also gaining the close attention and romantic affection of a vulnerable Cameron. Katie enjoys a brisk business at the club, selling to patrons photos that she has taken of them, but King's predominant henchman, Sebastian (performed with villainous glee by Fred Ottaviano) is suspicious of her motives for wishing to be close to his boss and it becomes apparent that there are others as well who are clearly interested in probing King's activities, such as the local police department, the FBI, and a young newly hired bartender (Christopher Atkins) who has rallied to the moral support of Katie against Sebastian's strong feelings of distrust. Shot in Florida, and titled SHOOT upon its original VHS release, and later KING'S RANSOM, this film's principal drawback to a viewer is the scenario's lack of balance that results in a failure to emphasise sundry plot twists. O'Keefe displays his customary acting range, that of a cigar store Indian, except for those blessedly few episodes when he impersonates Clint Eastwood, while Pfeiffer handily earns the acting laurels in a work that lacks storyline impact, instead merely dwindling to an insipid conclusion.