" Somewhere along the line, though, subtle intrigue got confused with boring and lackluster and no one seemed to notice. "
Title: Backflash by Buena Vista Home Video
Format: DVD-Suspense Thriller
Reviewing Monkey: EEGAH!
The Hype: You've seen this movie a hundred times with every slant imaginable…now see it with all of the action and suspense taken out.
What This Monkey Thought...
Story and Acting: On her
first day out of the pen, Harley (Jennifer Esposito) begins hatching a plot
to retrieve the money she stole from the mob. That's where weak willed rube,
Roy (Robert Patrick) comes in. You see, Roy is going to pose as Mr. Harley to
gain access to the lock box that Harley and her ill-fated lover set up to hide
the money (as an aside, I need to point out right now that it occurred to me
while watching, that placing your money in the hands of a bank under a joint
account when you're dealing with the mafia seemed like an inordinately stupid
idea but who am I to judge).
In the meantime, Harley is being closely watched by her previous employer, a skittish seemingly agoraphobic underboss, who wants the money that she stole while under his employ. This he accomplishes by assigning his best bumbling overt dimwit who only serves to throw you off the scent of who's really tracking her. However, this clever ruse is so transparent that you'll have it all figured out in the first ten minutes.
Now on to the acting. If the story didn't go out of its way to shove you away, the acting will positively put you to sleep. Not that the performances are bad, per se, but no one shows any real emotion and Esposito and Patrick have absolutely no chemistry together. In particular I found Jason Patrick's portrayal of the gullible, naïve dupe Roy, to be forced. Ultimately I don't place too much blame on the actors as I've seen them flex their acting muscles in other parts but here they were reduced to uninteresting cookie cutter characterizations. A very generous 2 out of 5
Visuals and Directing: Direction was obviously kept to a minimal. The action and dialog were so low key that a simple raised voice would have seemed jarring. It was evident to me at least that director Phil Jones was really trying to convey a sense of subtle intrigue. Somewhere along the line, though, subtle intrigue got confused with boring and lackluster and no one seemed to notice. 1 ½ out of 5
DVD Extras: The only good news in the mix, there are lots of the standard extras we've come to want on a DVD. Outtakes, deleted scenes, commentary...of course, given the flick, you probably won't want to watch them. But, if you did, here it is. 4 out of 5
Value vs. Price: Falling in right at the $20, Backflash isn't a bad buy given the extras and bonuses. Still, it begs the question, can you put a price on a bad movie?
|In a word: Dull, dull, dull! It never really strives to stand out on its own, instead choosing to follow pretty much the same path as all direct-to-video pulp noir thrillers to come before it. At its absolute best Backflash is thoroughly predictable.|
The Good: My first impression was of how mercilessly boring this movie was. Then after it hit the twenty minute mark I realized that this was the least of its failings. Thus it became evident that an overwhelming sense of boredom is the best experience that one can hope to derive from watching Backflash.
The Bad: Well to start with the characters are clichéd and use the kind of dialog that you'd expect to hear in a third rate 40's styled crime caper made in the 60's. If you're able to make it past that, the rest is flat and formulaic and plays out to a climax that you can spell out in the first ten minutes of the movie.
The Overall Ugly: The story and action lag far too much for the unremarkable and forgettable plot. And, remember, these are just my basic gripes...everything else is just icing on the cake.
What it's Worth: Strictly a watch-it-on-cable flick and only then if you have nothing better to do.