Deadly Impact

Deadly Impact

**

Reviewed by: David Graham

Sean Patrick Flanery and Joe Pantoliano star in a B-movie pastiche of several Nineties thrillers. The film starts with a classic torture porn trope reconfigured for an explosion-heavy thriller. Grizzled cop Thomas Armstrong has his idyllic Christmas Eve preparations interrupted by a call to the scene of infamous hitman The Lion's latest stunt. In revenge for recent interventions, the bomb-happy 'thief' has rigged Armstrong's wife up in a deadly Catch 22 situation that pushes the detective over the edge and into a South American oblivion for the next few years. When a foxy FBI agent tracks him down for a voice ID of the villain making fresh plans, he finds himself compelled to return to the chase in a lethal game of bangs and bucks.

Sean Patrick Flanery is suitably earnest, his glassy eyes managing to bring more conviction to his role than it probably deserves, especially in the effectively-played opening scenes. Joe Pantoliano gives good mince as the chameleon-like bad guy, relishing his laughable disguises and clich├ęd dialogue. He even gets to pollute a goldfish bowl in an unsavoury manner that surely ranks as a film first. It's just a shame we're left none the wiser as to his background and motives, beyond routine revenge. As the FBI agent catalyst and love interest, Carmen Serano sports ridiculously distracting pencilled-in eyebrows and the sort of drag-queen style that Katie Price glorifies. Her impassive face completely fails to express any emotion, while her timid voice lacks the authority necessary for her to convince as an FBI agent.

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Director Robert Kurtzman may be a special effects legend - with credits on a ton of great movies stretching back to the Eighties - but his film-making is strictly limited to the sort of over-lit, slick but bland style of low-grade TV shows. The script is inescapably derivative of til-now forgotten Nineties genre pic Blown Away, which at least had Jeff Bridges versus a hilariously 'Oirish' Tommy Lee Jones and real explosions as opposed to pixellated CGI . This film just flounders from one uninspired location to the next, with set-pieces that could be interesting were they not handled in such a ham-fisted fashion. Some of the situations present Saw-style dilemmas, echoing Speed but without that film's ingenuity. There's also an intriguing political subplot that appears midway only to be frustratingly forgotten.

Deadly Impact is the sort of inoffensive time-waster that you might persevere with after midnight on a bad day, but it's hard to recommend to anyone other than Pantoliano-philes and fans of the bomb-disposal subgenre.

Reviewed on: 18 Oct 2010
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Deadly Impact packshot
A cop with a troubled past tries to track down an assassin.
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