Fame is a killer. This time, they mean it.

John Herzfeld had an idea. He wrote a script to illustrate his idea. He directed the film from the script.

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Characters in the film must behave according to the idea. They cannot be themselves.

Robert De Niro isn't just a cop in New York. He's a famous cop in New York. Edward Burns, on the other hand, is not famous. Not yet. He's an arson investigator for the Fire Department, who takes flak from his boss for not being interviewed by the right people.

"It's all about image," he is told.

Image means television, high profile, more money from City Hall.

This is a movie about the lure of celebrity. The bad guys are Russian. Actually, one is Czech, but as far as Hollywood is concerned East Europeans are all the same. They speak lousy English.

One calls himself Frank Capra, steals a video camera from a store and films everything, including his friend murdering people.

Continuing with the theme that notoriety is the drug of choice in the 21st century, Kelsey Grammer pops up as the presenter of a TV tabloid news programme, specialising in blood, guts and insincerity.

Even De Niro cannot breathe life into a corpse. The idea is DOA and as the killings become more bizarre, the plot plummets into that place where it should be laughable if it wasn't so sad.

Fifteen minutes is the time it takes to realise that you've made a mistake and should be at home watching Backdraft on DVD.

Reviewed on: 15 Mar 2001
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Famous cop and Fire Department investigator chase psychopathic Russians in New York.
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Director: John Herzfeld

Writer: John Herzfeld

Starring: Robert De Niro, Edward Burns, Kelsey Grammer, Avery Brooks, Melina Kanakaredes, Karel Roden, Oleg Taktarov, Vera Farmiga

Year: 2001

Runtime: 120 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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