Sunday, May 3, 2015

In short: Excessive Force (1993)

Generic cop on the edge Terry McCain (Thomas Ian Griffith) and his partners Frankie (Tony Todd), and guy who dies too early for me to actually write down his name (Mister X) follow Terry’s vendetta against mob boss Sal DiMarco (Burt Young) into a drug deal between some of DiMarco’s men and members of the Irish mob, provoking the devolution from deal into shoot-out. Thanks to McCain’s use of torture on a suspect afterwards, DiMarco escapes another court indictment, leaving Terry quite angry and without shouldering any of the responsibility for something that is absolutely his fault all the way, of course. What only DiMarco and his men know is that three million dollars went missing during the bust, and DiMarco quickly pegs the cops as the responsible party.

Soon, the quite three-million-dollar-less Terry is the only of the three cops alive, and finds himself framed for murder and hunted by cops and gangsters alike. Why, you could think there’s some sort of conspiracy is going on.

Excessive Force’s excessively generic action movie title actually hides a generic cop movie featuring and written by lead Thomas Ian Griffith himself. The script for the whole affair is so bland, obvious and been-there, done-that clichéd even an actor could write it, so excitement, interesting ideas or even just somewhat involving execution of tired old ideas is right out. If anyone goes into this looking for even the tiniest bit of interesting characterization, she’ll be quite out of look, and neither Griffith’s script nor Jon Hess’s competent yet bland direction have much to add to the experience, particularly since neither the action scenes nor the dialogue are delivered with any sort of flair.

The latter is particularly sad in a film with such a fine cast of character actors that doesn’t just include Todd and Young but also features James Earl Jones and house favourite Lance Henriksen. Unfortunately, that’s Jones and and Henriksen phoning it in, Young biting the bullet very early on, and Todd only featuring in a few scenes, so we spend most of our time with Thomas Ian Griffith being as boring and obvious as his script, and Charlotte Lewis being pretty. Even though I do approve of Mother Nature’s work on Miss Lewis, that’s really not enough to keep me awake during a film.

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