L.A. Vice (1989)

R   |    |  Action, Crime


L.A. Vice (1989) Poster

Vice detective Jon Chance (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs) is in search of a millionaire's daughter and her boyfriend...kidnapped for an unreasonable ransom. With his trustworthy captain (William ... See full summary »


4.9/10
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9 July 1999 | FlyBoyDC
This slice of L.A. does not offer enough vice for my liking...
Meet Detective Jon Chance (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs), an intractable cop who likes to play by his own rules only. Chance is a gun fanatic at heart. He also plays by the "laws of Chance." His methods always include pulling the trigger before reading criminals their rights. Jon Chance is yet another blatant Dirty Harry clone (complete with his own .44 Magnum.and a snide personality). Chance is his name, defiance is his game...

Jon Chance becomes a one-man crusader against crime yet again. This time though, he is not working alone. This vice detective is in search of a millionaire's daughter and her boyfriend...kidnapped for an unreasonable ransom. Again, Chance refuses to cooperate with the FBI in this case. Could the FBI be somehow involved in the abductions? I do not know! I do not care either!

Meanwhile, with his trustworthy though retired Police Captain Joseph Wilkes (William Smith) as backup, Chance must shoot his way through the enemy and rescue the hostages...

However, when the Captain is killed in the line of duty, Chance is overwhelmed with a case of guilty conscience. He quits the police force.but luckily, he comes back to solve the case. With help from a Native American partner, Bear (Jastereo Coviare), Chance must finish the assignment...

So Jon Chance and his newly found partner Bear go clubbing, hitting a local shady nightclub which serves as a facade for drug dealing, money laundering, and all sorts of miscellaneous illegal doings. The bold police officers must go undercover to bust the local mob. This organized gang is led by reputed mob boss Lucci (Joe Palese). The two cops must stop this ruthless kingpin and his cohorts including Eddie T (Josh Sailor), Johnny (Rick Munroe), and Bennie (Nick Testa). Both cops must find a way to outwit this bellicose gang...

L.A. VICE is very much a mundane tale of cops & robbers. This movie has the production values of an amateur home made video. The Los Angeles setting is fairly dreary and yep, this film also has the requisite strip clubs. The story is platitudinous with lots of predictable surprises and characters who are about as three-dimensional as cardboard cut-outs. An insipid pace does not help either.

L.A. VICE lacks the smooth craftiness of the PM duo's later action flicks. The action scenes are mediocre, but choreographed in a languishing way. The climactic shoot-out was fairly exciting except that it was confusing since the good guys and villains were virtually indistinguishable from one another. Perhaps due to this film's infinitesimal budget, the firepower and pyrotechnics were used only sparingly.

Indeed, the filmmakers tried really hard. They have even attempted to sprinkle a nuance of inventiveness by adding an American Indian named Bear to the cast. However, "Bear" embodies all of the stereotypes seen in movies. Jastereo Coviare though gives the only noteworthy performance in this daft film as Bear. The bad guy mobsters never explain their motives, but then again, movie villains these days never justify why they have to behave in such a depraved manner...

Also, the movie's synopsis claims to be about Detective Chance investigating a string of murders in L.A. This movie has no pertinence as a murder mystery.

L.A. VICE lacks the flavor of most action films. There is simply no visual appeal to this bland and violently nondescript action film. There are lots of violence and blood in this movie, but it has zero personality. For the most part, this film is dangerously banal. L.A. VICE should be titled "L.A. Boredom" instead.

RATING: *1/2 out of ****.

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Action | Crime

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