Rated: R for violence and nudity. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: April 21, 1995 Released by: Twentieth Century Fox
With a basic TV plot using the big screen license to be excessively violent and to parade nude women around in the background, director Barbet Schroeder (Reversal of Fortune), takes a step backward in his career.
David Caruso's performance in O.K. but Nicholas Cage as a solitary crazy gangster shows his tremendous range. He can play any part. Jimmy Kilmartin (Caruso) is the only honest man in New York, if the script is to be believed. He is a small time convict who has reformed and is about the task of bringing up his daughter and living with a young wife. He is drawn into a caper to protect his cousin. When if falls apart he ends up in a truck with a drunk who shoots a cop. Back up the river goes the honest two-time loser.
All the cops are willing to beat up suspects. The district attorney is willing to sell Kilmartin to the mob for a federal judgeship which he thinks the FBI can get for him. Federal judgeships are nominated by senators, not FBI agents who are in trouble. The feds are willing to let Crazy Little Junior (Cage) loose on society again to keep their illegal investigation procedure quiet. Even the low level Registry of Motor Vehicle clerk is corrupt in this nonsense scrip. I guess Schroeder believes in building a film on the mistrust of the government. There is only one character, Calvin (Samuel L. Jackson), who has some depth and who actually changes his perspective as the film moves on. All the other cops and robbers are silly, stupid and inept.
In the big climax at a strip joint, Baby Cakes is as bad as a "B" western from the 1940s. Kilmartin holds the gun on the bad guys, loses the gun, gets it back. Cage deserves better and Caruso should have looked further for his first starring role on the big screen.
|Kiss of Death||C+||C+|