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Overall Rating

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Pretty Bad: 12.5%
Total Crap87.5%

1 review, 2 user ratings

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Domino Principle, The
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by Jack Sommersby

"Rock-Bottom Dreck"
1 stars

Yes, there are those disposable films that Gene Hackman can make worth watching on an undemanding level, but this turkey sure isn't one of them.

In the brain-dead garbage department there's the godawful wannabe-thriller The Domino Principle that's consistently insulting our intelligence with an absolute smorgasbord of logic loopholes. Gene Hackman, slumming it big-time in a solemnly-sleepwalking performance, is Roy Tucker, a prisoner at San Quentin for murder who's released thanks to a trio of well-dressed types who have recruited him for a secret mission. Tucker isn't given the necessary info on what exactly this mission is, but before it's made known he's put up and pampered in some posh digs in Los Angeles and Costa Rica, and also reunited with his wife. All the while he's instructed not to ask undue questions and not contact his former colleagues -- when he unwisely does, they're quickly eliminated. Thus far the audience isn't given any more details than Tucker in this one-person's-view movie, but it's fairly easy to ascertain that not only will it be something of the violent nature but involving an assassination of someone important, as well. Rather than presenting the blatantly obvious at perhaps the midway mark and taking things in a different direction from there, the dreadful screenplay by Adam Kennedy based on his own novel just puts off the inevitable with an array of boring talking-heads scenes that in no way shape or form lends any drive to the already-clunky narrative -- it's just filler material unctuously used to prolong the running time. Maybe if the central role of Tucker were engaging and interesting enough we could be occasionally distracted by all the contextual emptiness, but he's more a cipher than a character, and an exceedingly dunderheaded one who inexplicably fails to accept way too late in the game that any semblances of rebellion will be met with serious repercussions -- an odious oaf who we have absolutely no emotional or intellectual stake in. And Hackman, who can sometimes work miracles, has nothing to play and goes through the motions on his way to an easy paycheck. (Also wasted are Eli Wallach, Richard Widmark, and Edward Albert as the heavies.) Not helping matters is the utterly inadequate direction by veteran Stanley Kramer, whose first thriller this is and whose talent for action and suspense are practically nonexistent. And topping everything off is the dubious array of double crosses and supposed surprises that can be foreseen from several zip codes away. All in all, it's a crappy cinematic endeavor that boasts not a single good scene or even one decent line of dialogue to its credit. With stuff this terribly trite, it's all the more reason to take up something as blase as needlepoint or shuffleboard in your spare time instead.

The video quality of the DVD is decidedly lacking. Even though the film was shot in the non-widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the 1.33:1 full-frame transfer is obtrusive and riddled with compression artifacts.

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originally posted: 10/17/10 04:08:34
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User Comments

7/10/15 D. the R. Unpleasant Kennedy-style conspiracy "thriller". Shame on you both, Gene and Stanley! 1 stars
12/31/10 Dave Boring 70's movie, apparently was supposed to be suspenseful 2 stars
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  23-Mar-1977 (PG)
  DVD: 24-Jan-2006



Directed by
  Stanley Kramer

Written by
  Adam Kennedy

  Gene Hackman
  Candice Bergen
  Richard Widmark
  Eli Wallach

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