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Quiet Cool
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by Jack Sommersby

"Not So 'Cool'"
1 stars

One of those imagination-deprived failures that's better left locked in a dusty closet somewhere.

James Remar served up two spectacular villainous portrayals as the escaped convict in Walter Hill's 48 Hrs. and as gangster Dutch Schultz in Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club, so it's nice to see this always-welcome actor atypically playing a heroic policeman in the action movie Quiet Cool. Unfortunately, both the writing and directing let him down, though Remar does manage to make it slightly more watchable than it deserves. We're tipped off in the very first action sequence that occurs very early on that we're in the hands of quite the subpar moviemaker. What should be an enjoyable bit of Remar's Joe Dylanne riding to work on his motorcycle, then chasing a skateboarding purse snatcher on the sidewalk, down the stairs of a subway station, into the subway and then back out and then back up the stairs, and then grabbing onto the guy and dumping him into the East River with the Statue of Liberty prominently in the background, is unsatisfying due the imprecise staging and loose-goose editing. Rather than the main story taking place in New York, however, it switches to the Redwood Forest area of Northern California in the very small town of Babylon: Dylanne gets a call from an ex-girlfriend from ten months prior, whose older brother and his wife and son have gone missing; so he takes some long-put-off vacation time and gets on a plane. Upon arrival this big-city veteran finds himself the 'ol "fish out of water" in this isolated, rural community: it's the "dope capital" of the Northwest, taken over by the major growers with marijuana plantations, booby traps and armed patrols; and the local sheriff is in cahoots with them, offering Dylanne little in the way of help. We come to find out the brother and his wife have been killed by the growers for their son having witnessing a murder; the son, with excellent survival skills, managed to escape and is hiding out. Eventually, Dylanne, after damaging the axle to his rental jeep, locates him deep in the woods, but the kid refuses to go -- he's determined to exact revenge for his parents' deaths; and Dylanne, after himself barely escaping death at the well-armed hands of these sinister goons, soon joins him in his fight. If the Big Apple is considered a jungle, this area fits that bill even more so: with a lack of ammunition and far from a highly-populated area, Dylanne is outnumbered and outgunned, and he grudgingly has to partner up with this kid who surprises him with his bravery and resourcefulness.

As one can easily surmise by now, Quiet Cool is far from fresh or original. In fact, this kind of thing was done considerably better in the Sidney Portier star vehicle Shoot to Kill, and not just because the twists and turns were better but because it was sharply directed by Roger Spottiswoode. The one in charge here, Clay Borris, who directed as well as co-wrote the lackadaisical screenplay, knows next to nothing in the areas of pacing, framing and narrative drive. (Even at a mere eighty minutes, the movie is flabby and inert, with nothing but dead space in between the action -- it's amazing the actors were able to summon up the energy to deliver their blah dialogue.) For a movie with endless chases and gunfights and a high body count, it's amazing how we feel distanced from it all; it plays out by rote like a teaser trailer strung together by someone who was half-asleep. All good action fare needs compression, and Borris can't string even two scenes together with some tension carrying over; and the bad guys he's concocted are vague and vacuous, devoid of both presence and menace. He also fouls up on easy stuff, like a rabbit moving extremely close to a grenade-armed tripwire Dylanne is hiding next to (the juxtaposing of the shots is sloppy), and the mysterious identity of the ringleader behind the gangs is carelessly flubbed (Borris lingers over a shot of the crucial character at the end of the scene two seconds later than he should, making it a dead giveaway). The rapport between Dylanne and his young new partner never comes alive, the relationship between him and his ex we couldn't care less about, and with a lack of true feel for the outdoor locations the story might as well be taking place at a dude ranch. Just a single scene of John Rambo fighting it out with those backwoods sheriff's deputies in First Blood outclasses Quiet Cool by a wide mile, which was another case of a better director, Ted Kotcheff, at the helm. Thank goodness there's Remar around to give audiences someone to semi-invest even though his role is far from well-written. He's relaxed and ingratiating, and it's really nice that he doesn't go for any two-fisted macho posturing lesser actors couldn't have resisted in indulging in. He doesn't have the force here that he's capable of because the movie around him is so mediocre, but hopefully some wise directors out there will keep him in leading-man roles he's more than deserving of.

Well, it's been given a decent DVD treatment. No special features on the disc, but, hey, it ain't exactly a special piece of cinema.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=23292&reviewer=327
originally posted: 12/14/11 19:18:49
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User Comments

12/21/11 green O i dont know what to think 3 stars
12/20/11 Stacie Clark Quiet not. 1 stars
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  08-Nov-1986 (R)
  DVD: 19-Sep-2006



Directed by
  Clay Borris

Written by
  Clay Borris
  Susan Vercellino

  James Remar
  Daphne Ashbrook
  Jared Martin
  Nick Cassavetes

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