23 August 2004 | bob the moo
Enjoyable enough little film but nothing special
Matt Lee Whitlock is the chief of police in a town in Florida. He has an ex-wife on the job and a girlfriend dieing of cancer. When Ann tells him that her husband has changed the details of her life insurance policy, Matt agrees to be named the new beneficiary in order to keep any payout safe. Meanwhile, under pressure to help her treatment, Matt takes drug money from the police safe however, when Ann and her husband are both killed in an arson attack on their home a murder investigation is launched with Matt's ex-wife Alex heading it up. Initially quick to cover all links between him and Ann, Matt soon finds that all the clues are starting to point to him and realises that he is being framed.
Despite a solid (and sexy) cast, this looked too much like an average crime thriller to bother me to go to the cinema. However on DVD I decided to give it a go over the weekend as it seemed more suited to the small screen. Indeed the plot is no great shakes and is essentially a series of little set pieces on the way to a twist that was so apparent that the film doesn't even really deliver it with any great effort. However this is not to say it is no good, but just that it is nothing particularly special. The direction is good and it really helps the film keep a good sense of pace in the way the camera spins around in even the office environment but really it is the cast that make this stand out from the many other crime thrillers that never make it to the cinema.
Washington may well be slumming it here (he criticised it because he said all he did was run) but he holds the attention really well. His character doesn't really act like he should do and sometimes he is just plain wrong but Washington is suitably frantic and sweaty like a man hemmed in on all sides. Mendes is enjoyable even if she has no real character to speak of either, while Lathan rounds out the sex appeal with an OK performance but hardly the femme fatale that she should have been. Cain does better than he usually does and credit to him that he does manage to hold his own with Washington. Generally none of the lead three really act at the level that they can but their presence makes it more interesting.
Overall, my (and most viewers) assumptions were mostly right it is an enjoyable little thriller but not one that is really worth hunting down. The big name cast are sexy and do reasonably well with the little they are given and director Franklin injects more pace that it probably deserved and the end result is a solid enough little film but not one that really does anything special.