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Nowhere to Hide
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by Jack Sommersby

"'Hide' From This Turkey"
1 stars

Grossing less than a million at U.S. box offices, it's a wonder it just wasn't released straight to video.

In the whoppingly implausible action thriller Nowhere to Hide, Amy Madigan manages to deliver an excellent star performance as Barbara Cutter, the wife of a Marine helicopter major who finds her tranquil existence thrown into turmoil when her husband is murdered by two corporate assassins because he’s discovered that a defense contractor has been skimping on the manufacturing of their aircraft. To cut back on costs, an alloy rather than the agreed-upon titanium has been used on the crucial C-ring part of the fleet’s chopper engines, which has resulted in two downed choppers inside of a week and four deaths. Unfortunately, upon discovering this the husband relays his finding to his second-in-command who’s in cahoots with the contractor; shortly thereafter the assassins are dispatched to the Cutters’ house, where the husband is shot down but not before the incriminating piece of evidence has been fitted by his young son onto his toy robot. (Barbara, a sculptor, has been welding on a work of hers in the garage while this is going on, and she barely manages to escape the gunfire.) But the assassins have planted some top-secret documents in the household, so during a cursory search of the crime scene the police happen upon these, and the consensus is that the husband was a traitor and probably killed by the supposed foreign agents he was selling this information to (though this is left ill-defined). As a result, the crux of the investigation is centered on the murder victim instead of the killers, and the Marine brass alienates Barbara and even denies her husband a proper military burial. From here on the movie consists of a series of action sequences with Barbara and her traumatized son trying to stay one step ahead of the killers who’re after that crucial piece of evidence they still haven’t located and Barbara is oblivious to because it’s attached to the toy her son refuses to let go of. No one with any semblances of common sense would have little doubt as to the duplicitous dealings of greedy defense contractors (Halliburton, anybody?), but with the array of over-the-top car chases and shootouts that ensue, it’s hard to buy into the proceedings as anything more than sensationalized hokum shamelessly exploiting a serious issue for formulaic cliches. And it all culminates at a secluded cabin in the woods owned by an old friend of the husband’s who’s been a recluse for the last decade. (He’s played by that B-movie actor Michael Ironside, who doesn’t appear until after the one-hour mark, and is unexpectedly subtle -- he isn’t doing one of his villainous portrayals for a change, and modesty looks good on him.) If you’re interested in action, then Nowhere to Hide will likely sate because the stunt work is decently staged, but none of it really comes off as integral because the situations leading up to them are tediously contrived. Plus, the movie carelessly telegraphs practically all of its punches, thus rendering the overall whole as mechanically schematic. (You can practically see the rusted joints holding everything together.) Luckily, there’s Madigan around to give the poorly plotted story its only real girth. She was abrasive and very difficult to take in Streets of Fire and Twice in a Lifetime where she uncouthly tried to be “feisty,” but in Love Child and Places in the Heart and Alamo Bay she proved she could be emotionally accessible and forceful. Here, she gives her limited role as much truth as it can hold and remains commanding throughout. If only the negligible Nowhere to Hide had so much as a tenth of Madigan’s solidity.

I'd rather do needlepoint than sit through this again.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=29184&reviewer=327
originally posted: 05/31/15 22:19:57
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USA
  17-Jul-1987 (R)

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