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Cat Chaser
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by Jack Sommersby

"Lulling Leonard"
1 stars

Not even good for undemanding viewing on an uneventful Saturday afternoon because watching eighteen straight holes of golf on the TV would offer up a more enchanting time.

Even taking into account the awful 1985 Elmore Leonard adaptation Stick, the lethargic Cat Chaser is far and away the very worst movie version of best-selling author Leonard's work. Directed by Abel Ferrara, who showed some verve in the cult favorite Fear City and the fine horror remake Body Snatchers, approaches the minimal material so inexpressively that he winds up sending the hopelessly bored audience into catatonia by about the twenty-minute mark -- it's so ultra-low-key it's practically nonexistent. We couldn't care less about the characters or the crime plot, which is a shame because the always-welcome Peter Weller has been cast in the lead role, and usually this underrated actor can come up with something genuine no matter how lacking the content is. But he can't get hold of a whole lot this time around. As George Moran, who's trying to fix up his business-depleted Miami beach hotel but finds himself caught up in some violent shenanigans, Weller tries giving one of those world-weary hero portraits that might have some intrinsic value if the proceedings were more lively, but because they're so sorely he winds up fading into the background like the other actors in equally ill-defined roles that are barely even two-dimensional. George's nondescript existence is thrown a curve when a man (Frederick Forrest) who served in the same Marine unit as him during the U.S. invasion of the Dominic Republic checks in and tries involving George in a plot to steal two-million dollars from a local crime lord; he works for the guy and thinks he's smart enough to carry this out. Also figuring into the equation is a corrupt cop (Charles Durning) vying for the wealthy goods, and the lord's wife (Kelly McGillis) who was previously in a relationship with George, is unhappy, and wants both the money and her former flame. Predictably, a series of double crosses abound and people start getting killed and all that kinda thing. It's all so very predictable and thin that the screenplay, which Leonard actually co-wrote, could've been scrawled on the back of a matchbook. And the decision to incorporate one of those cynical-sounding narrations (voiced by the good actor Reni Santoni) only accentuates the banality of it all. What little action there is painfully inept (Ferrara can't even stage a two-on-one fight scene around a pool without making a complete mockery of it), and McGillis, a mechanical, over-eliberate actress, sends off zero erotic sparks (she and Weller haven't a whisper of chemistry). And tediously thrown in is a blase subplot concerning a woman George knew back in the Republic and wants to know if she survived the invasion that comes to absolute nothing in the end. All in all, an unbelievably sloppy and sodden production that has all the panache of a tax seminar and all the excitement of a merry-go-round ride.

Like the movie, the DVD package is direly inadequate with a full-frame that's the very definition of sub-mediocre.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10264&reviewer=327
originally posted: 10/30/10 17:16:33
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User Comments

7/23/04 Jack Sommersby The always-welcome Weller & decent pacing make up for been-there-before material. 3 stars
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  02-Feb-1989 (R)
  DVD: 18-Nov-2003

  02-Apr-1989 (18)

  02-Apr-1989 (M)

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