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James Woods , Brian Dennehy , John Flynn    R (Restricted)   VHS Tape
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Amazon.ca

This formula mystery-thriller is enlivened by the give-and-take chemistry between the tough, phlegmatic Brian Dennehy and the acid-tongued, fast-talking James Woods. Dennehy is an ex-cop turned crime novelist with a string of bestsellers to his credit. He is approached by Woods, who wants him to collaborate on a book about Woods's career as hit man for a prominent businessman, who has always maintained a scrubbed façade of uprightness. Though the plot becomes predictable, this Laurel-and-Hardy pairing yields unexpected treats, as a criminal teaches a former cop a thing or two about police work, not to mention literature. --Marshall Fine

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
If you're not a James Woods fan, you wouldn't understand, but bear with me:
This movie is really a story about the redemption of the assassin Cleve, played by Woods. The characters in the movie are given little depth by the writers, but the stars give heart to this film. I was most intrigued by the performance of Woods. Most actors play assassins as raving psychotics, (and typically Woods is no exception) but Woods takes the character of Cleve a step further. Seen in the beginning of the film as a savior to the best selling author and cop named Dennis played by Denneghy, Cleve at first shows a cool exterior and one wonders if this will be yet another Woods' film where he simply gets to shoot a lot of people. But when the character of Cleve comes to life, Woods shows his depth as an actor. Cleve's cool exterior and successful career as an assassin masks a tangible vulnerability as Cleve tries to come to terms with his life, wanting himself to be seen by the public as "sympathetic" in Dennis' "best seller." (You see this at the very end of the film where Cleve has to make a decision: get final revenge on his boss Matlock or save Dennis's teenage daughter). The ending is worth every minute of the background 80's synth music.
Cleve doesn't feel guilt in the murders he's committed for the cupidity of the company; as Cleve says matter-of-factly, "It's the profession I was in, Dennis." This streak of sociopathic deeds combined with an obession for verbal politeness was an interesting mix that I found intriguing. (One tongue-in-check example is after Cleve saves Dennis' life, he places a card on Dennis' windshield with the simple message: "Say thank you!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TRUE SLEEPER June 6 2002
By A Customer
Format:DVD
I FIRST CAME ACROSS THIS GEM WAY BACK IN THE 80'S ON THE ADVICE OF THE VIDEO STORE OWNER. AS I WATCHED IT I KNEW IT WOULD BE ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITES. JIM WOODS PORTRAYS A SMOOTH, VICOUS UTTERLY AMORAL KILLER WHO MANAGES TO SLIT THROATS AND BREAK NECKS WITH OUT WRINKLING HIS ARMANTE SUITS. BRIAN DENNEHY PLAYS THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN AS THE HONEST HARDNOSED COP RAISING HIS DAUGHTER ALONE AFTER THE PASSING AWAY OF HIS BELOVED WIFE. JIM WOODS AS EX-HITMAN CLEVE CONTACTS DENNIS MEECHAM, PLAYED BY DENNEHY, OUT OF THE BLUE AFTER SAVING HIS LIFE IN A SHOOTOUT AND THEN DISAPEARING. CLEVE THEN USES DENNIS TO WREAK REVENGE ON HIS EX-EMPLOYER DAVID MATLOCK BY WRITING A FACTUAL ACCOUNT OF HOW MATLOCKS COMPANY "CAPPA INTERNATIONAL" WAS STARTED BY THE THEFT OF MONEYS FROM A POLICE DEPOSITORY. THE SUBSIQUENT ODDESY AS CLEVE TAKES SGT. MEECHAM THROUGH A MAZE OF INTRIGUE AND MURDERS SLOWLY CONVINCES A SKEPTICAL COP THERE JUST MIGHT BE SOMETHING TO THIS AFTER ALL. AS THE FLICK PROGRESSES THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE COP AND THE CROOK TURNS TO A KIND OF UNEASY FRIENDSHIP WHICH SGT. MEECHAM WILL NOT ACKNOWLEDGE, BUT CLEVE KNOWS ANYWAYS. A MEMORABLE SCENE IN THIS MOVIE IS WHEN CLEVE APPEARS, UNEXPECTANTLY IN SGT. MEECHAMS PUBLISHERS HOUSE AS SHE ARRIVES HOME FROM A BUSINESS DATE. IF YOU DON'T THINK JAMES WOODS CAN BE CONVINCINGLY SCARY CHECK THIS SCENE OUT. CLEVE IS IN SEARCH OF A COPY OF THE MANUSCRIPT THAT MEECHAM IS WRITNG AND VERY CONVINCINGLY MAKES A BELIEVER OF THE LADY THAT SHE HAD BETTER GIVE HIM THE COPY IF SHE HAS IT, FORTUNATELY SHE DOESN'T HAVE THE COPY AND CLEVE BELIEVES HER, HE THEN ASSURES HER IF SHE TELLS MEECHAM ABOUT THEIR LITTLE MEETING HE WILL COME BACK AND "HURT YOU LIKE YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN HURT BEFORE". Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome talent in one movie Oct. 17 2011
By Amazon User TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A mysterious man comes to the rescue of a cop and it takes the whole movie to understand why. I thought it was a pretty good flick and I have a lot of respect and admiration for these two gentlemen!
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5.0 out of 5 stars not just a thriller Jan. 26 2002
Format:VHS Tape
If you like James Woods, this will definitely float your boat. Woods plays an ex-hitman, Cleave, for a large business situated in Los Angeles, which means you get to see him show his capacities to be smooth, calculating, and also emotionally explosive. While this movie is put in the action category, as it should be, its plot unfolds itself by slowly revealing the machinations of a corrupt and powerful business, that Woods' character is trying to take down for having gyped him at some point in his service. Throughout this development, the movie plays the characters of Woods -the cunning and dangerous hitman- and Dennehy -a just but temperamental cop- off one another. As you can guess, Dennis, the cop, continually suspects Cleave of having some dark secret or another cold trick up his sleeve. This movie's ability to display how Dennis communicates and cooperates with a criminal, who he despises, is what takes this movie beyond bare action and into a fascinating portrayal of personalities caught in the larger struggle of enforcing justice on mega-corporations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best From Woods and Dennehy May 27 2000
Format:VHS Tape
James Woods and Brian Dennehy both shine in this thriller about a cop/author who teams with a psychotic killer in order to bring down an organized crime figure.
It is fascinating to watch the interaction betwwen the two leads. Dennehy knows that Woods is a cold-blooded killer yet he uses a combination of physical presence and intestinal fortitude to keep the the smaller Woods in line. Woods' character actually tries to befriend Dennehy but one is never sure that he won't snap and kill Dennehy at any moment.
This is an excellent film and a showcase for the talents of these two fine actors. I hope a DVD version will be released but until then it's VHS only.
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