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by Rob Gonsalves

"Castle" fans take note. All others proceed with caution."
3 stars

After you've followed an actor in a well-defined role on a TV show for about two years, it's fun to see him or her playing a radical change-of-pace character. So as a "Castle" fan who's enjoyed Stana Katic as the tough, no-nonsense Detective Kate Beckett, I was more than a little curious to see her as a vengeful, bloodthirsty Russian assassin in "Stiletto."

Katic doesn't disappoint -- her Raina, who favors a massive pigsticker of a blade (hence the title), is ruthless yet vulnerable. The rest of Stiletto does disappoint, despite its surefire B-flick cast. Raina is after a bunch of low-rent mobsters with neo-Nazi connections. A dirty cop (Paul Sloan, also credited with the crude script) has his eye on her at the behest of the Greek gang lord (Tom Berenger) she almost killed. The always-welcome Michael Biehn works for Berenger and spends most of the movie arguing with psychotic, self-mutilating Cockney squeeze Amanda Brooks. Kelly Hu is a cop who doesn't do much except show up at crime scenes and yell at Paul Sloan.

This cast includes William Forsythe, James Russo, Tom Sizemore, and not one but two actors who've played Leatherface (not Gunnar Hansen, sadly), and there's very little to go around for the whole crew. So a lot of the "action" (a gratuitous drag race between Biehn and Sloan; a shootout in a Japanese restaurant where women stylishly sword-fight for the amusement of the clientele) seems tacked on. Ultimately the only points of interest are Raina's bloody vengeance (somebody saw Kill Bill, I suspect) and the motivation behind it. Aside from Katic and Berenger (who brings a "fuck it, I've already died once" Zen attitude to his performance), I got a kick out of Tom Sizemore, playing a rabidly fucked-up celeb who keeps company with hookers; the role, to put it politely, is solidly in Sizemore's wheelhouse these days. A couple of abrupt deaths also surprised a laugh out of me. I assume, given Raina's sob story, that Stiletto is intended seriously, but most of it is useful only for derisive snickering.

A generous three stars, only because, without Katic and some other acting moments, this would be lucky to get two.

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originally posted: 12/12/10 05:32:48
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User Comments

1/24/11 bill norris the only reason i watched this was for Stana Katic. Watch with the sound off, still watch 4 stars
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