16 January 2006 | jimmyfingers
A troubled production?
Although I am not familiar with the circumstances behind the making of FRENCH QUARTER UNDERCOVER I think it is safe to assume there was some major post-production work involved. To some extent it strives to be a gritty THE FRENCH CONNECTION-style cop thriller in which two rogue cops (Michael Parks and Billy Holliday) are out to stop a terrorist plot which will climate at the World's Fair. It is alleged that these events are based on real life incidents and to emphasize this the narrative is peppered with title cards and talking head interviews with people who claim to have been involved or at least aware of this plot. The end result is a tediously uninvolving experience. Two directors being credited is often a sign of problems, and one wonders if the death of actor Holliday (who is also credited with the screenplay) around the time of production (During? After?) caused problems. One wonders if the seemingly-endless interviews and title cards, primarily involving a reporter (Layton Martens) who is investigating the detectives' activities, are not just for dramatic effect but an attempt at coherence. It also sacrifices what held THE FRENCH CONNECTION together: the interaction between the two protagonists. Like or hate Popeye and Cloudy, at least they were characters. It is a pity that the detectives portrayed by Parks and Holliday register little more than blow-hard tough guy cut-outs since both actors (particularly Parks) deserve and are capable of so much more.