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Serial Killer
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by Jack Sommersby

"Far From 'Killer' Entertainment"
1 stars

Released straight to home video, and it's not hard to see why.

Pierre David is a longtime Hollywood producer whose lackadaisical Serial Killer marks his second directorial effort, and being that he produced two excellent crime dramas in particular, Mike Figgis’s Internal Affairs and Bill Duke’s Deep Cover, it’s a shame neither of those directors’ talent managed to rub off on him. I’ve seen far worse movies than Serial Killer, but few that are as listless and joyless to sit through -- a catastrophically bad movie would at least have held some points of interest; here, you’re so starved for something remotely distinctive that the movie practically evaporates from your mind as you’re watching it. (It’s the very definition of “rote.”) The attractive Kim Delaney of television’s NYPD Blue stars as FBI agent Selby Younger, a psychological profiler who’s been matching wits with the notorious Los Angeles murderer William Morrano (Tobin Bell) who’s been leaving behind a trail of hideously-mutilated bodies in his wake; one fateful night Morrano has managed to track Selby to her apartment, which results in (are you ready?) Younger hanging by the railing of her third-floor balcony, Morrano slicing her fingers to where she drops all the way down onto the concrete without further bodily harm, with Morrano then being shot in the shoulder by Selby’s partner Cole Grayson (a dull Gary Hudson, last seen doggy-styling a bimbo bar patron in Road House) who just happens to have stumbled upon them. We then forward two years later where Selby has relegated herself to desk work because of the trauma she experienced, and Morrano, who has a terminal illness, has been chosen as the subject for an experimental drug that could cure him; Grayson warns the doctors that Morrano will use this opportunity to escape, which he does, and the remainder of the movie consists of Selby, putting herself back into the field, spearheading the search for quite the intelligent adversary who manages to stay one step ahead of her. Dexterous plotting would’ve been more than welcome, but the inept screenwriter, Mark Sevi, whose far-from-illustrious resume consists of bottom-feeder drivel by the dubious likes of Ghoulies IV and Fast Getaway II, has constructed everything predictably in the most schematic manner. The twists and turns have all the verve of a Rotary Club luncheon and the dialogue is strictly routine, and by the thirty-minute mark we’re so starved for some element of surprise that all we can hope for is some semblances of ingenuity in the staging, and all David can do is serve up one mediocre scene after another direly devoid of finesse -- it were as if he were consulting a Directing for Dummies handbook throughout without deviating from the basic instructions on merely turning the camera on and off. (Most of the action is composed dead-center within the frame with plenty of dead space in the periphery, making you all too aware of a director uncomfortable with a non-theatrical aspect ratio.) And perhaps some strong performances could offer some compensation. But all the lovely but limited Delaney can summon up are standardized A-to-B-to-C emotional transitions, and Bell, who’s been cast as heavies countless times before (most notably in The Firm and Malice), doesn’t have the power for the part and is more somnolent than menacing. And it all culminates in an unsatisfying, anti-climactic conclusion that is definitely not worth the wait in this egregious effort that’s as generic as its title.

A suitable alternative to a sleeping pill.

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originally posted: 04/28/15 10:30:02
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  06-Feb-1996 (R)



Directed by
  Pierre David

Written by
  Mark Sevi

  Kim Delaney
  Gary Hudson
  Tobin Bell
  Pam Grier
  Marco Rodriguez

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