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Pretty Crappy: 6.25%

2 reviews, 4 user ratings

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Cold Steel
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by Jack Sommersby

"Action Lite"
1 stars

Deservedly died a box-office death.

In the execrable Cold Steel, Brad Davis of Midnight Express fame tries his damndest yet again to prove he’s got both the talent and charisma to sustain a leading-man role, but, try as he might with all the shouting and semaphoring and embarrassing attempts in his quieter moments to “smolder,” he’s direly devoid of the requisites to get the job done. Playing Los Angeles rules-breaking detective Johnny Modine, who’s dead-set on avenging the death of his father at the hands of a facially-disfigured nemesis with a mechanical voice box in his larynx, Davis moves around a lot in the attempt to work up some kinetic energy, but because his internal resources are practically zero, we’re all too aware of the numerous chalk marks he isn’t hitting, and the sight isn’t pretty. Granted, the material he’s working with is brain-dead garbage, but he’s incapable of rising above it at the very least – you feel Davis and the screenplay are a perfect match made in Hell. (In the odious Midnight Express Davis was effortlessly upstaged by co-stars John Hurt and Randy Quaid; here, even far-lesser actors have no problem walking away with their scenes.) Davis is no one in particular, just a mediocrity who relies on generalized mannerisms that never congruently come together into something genuine. His only positive is that he isn’t smug in that there’s effort been put out to etch a three-dimensional characterization: it’s just that his best simply isn’t good enough. Still, no actor could lend gravitas to something as inane as Cold Steel. Atrociously written and directed and edited, it’s to cinema what the Edsel was to the automobile. The inchoate dialogue consists of gems by the likes of “If I catch you anywhere near this case, I’ll throw you in the shithouse so fast it’ll make your head spin,” the abysmal action sequences staged by the criminally-untalented debuting director Dorothy Ann Puzo (daughter of The Godfather novelist Mario Puzo) are a disgrace in the spatial-logistics department, and even simple talking-heads scenes are an absolute insult to composition. (Not to mention, the cruddy lighting suggests that of an industrial-training video.) Even the motivation of the villain has been hopelessly fouled up – you’d expect him to target the gang responsible for his disfigurement, not the ex-friend who was rendered unconscious and unable to fight back. The movie’s sole saving grace is the colorful performance by the English musician Adam Ant, who plays the bad guy’s second-in-command with undiluted moxie. He’s clearly having oodles more fun than the unfortunate audience.

It's available in an out-of-print DVD, though I doubt there will be any takers.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=9506&reviewer=327
originally posted: 07/15/18 16:46:59
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User Comments

2/04/07 Sugarfoot It's really weird on the surface of things, how Stone became a star. 1 stars
4/29/04 Jack Sommersby Subpar hero and villain, combined with atrocious writing & directing make this a stinker. 1 stars
4/29/04 tatum Cheap and unoriginal 2 stars
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  11-Dec-1987 (R)



Directed by
  Dorothy Ann Puzo

Written by
  Michael Sonye
  Moe Quigley

  Brad Davis
  Sharon Stone
  Jonathan Banks
  Jay Acovone
  Adam Ant
  Eddie Egan

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