Please do not read this if you have NOT seen the movie yet. I will include a couple of spoilers in my review.
Remember how critically acclaimed the show was? I am sorry to say that this movie did not entirely fulfill my expectations. It was a diluted storyline that left a funny taste in my mouth. The writers slapped together a couple of endings and twists they had conjured up to officially end the 4th season.
The continuity was sloppy--or the editing, I'm not sure which. But at one point when Miss Parker confronts Lyle about "secrets and lies", the cut of her exit features her wearing a completely different outfit. Oops. Just a couple more things...like why did Miss Parker suddenly switch to a different type of handgun? It was way too big for her to handle...it's a good thing she didn't have to fire a shot. Speaking of guns, Miss Parker's character was ENTIRELY out of character when she set her gun about six feet away from her reach to rescue her father.
To satisfy true Pretender fans like me, the movie was good in that it showed that somebody actually cared enough to give the fans what they wanted for a change. Performances noteworthy to mention are as follows: Peter Outerbridge as the archenemy nemesis of the Pretender, Cynthia Dale as the impressionable "Agent Scully" of this movie, Jon Gries as the loveable Brootsie, Jamie Denton as the "thumbless Mr. Lyle", and Andrea Parker as the comic relief/sexual chemistry to the Pretender.
The writers did, however, create a good, suspenseful plethera of chase scenes. BUT, like the author of the Sam Spade stories, introduced characters in the last five pages that were never in the book before! And then mercilessly killed them off before we could really get an idea of character development. I like seeing a sensitive side of Miss Parker, which Andrea Parker always portrays with phenomenal grace...but I didn't like it when they turned her into a Miss Cleo. Michael T. Weiss stayed true to his character--you'd think he'd know how to play Jarod by now, he only did it for 4 previous years. Dumping poor Broots out of the car with nowhere to go was NOT in character, and he seemed to treat the computer genius with less respect than in the past.
A good job was done to bring new viewers up to speed. A wonderful job was done by Velton Ray Bunch (score composer)--you can't have a decent movie without a decent soundtrack. The music is the backbone to the script. More memories of Catherine Parker could have been recounted by Parker to her new step-brother so he could fill her in possibly of her mother's plan. Lots and lots of cliff hangers were the only thing that I think could have brought back the viewers for the second movie. If you are a die hard Pretender fan, watch the movie again to remind yourself of the day when fictional dramas ruled network television and appreciate it before the day reality TV crushed a writer's typewriter. Oh wait, there aren't any writers for reality TV, are there?