When you need a flawless assassination of a high profile target, call Banks. His Ivy League mind and an arsenal of awesome weaponry make him tough, dangerous and untouchable.
Is this cunning killer making the biggest mistake of his life deep in the heat of the desert? To take down his next target, Bank needs someone to pretend to be his wife. He teams up with a sexy hitchhiker who'll do absolutely anything for money. Before long, she gets under his skin and his calculated professionalism quickly slips away. Things get down and dirty in the deadliest deal under the sun.
I can think of no other reason for this made-in-2001 low-budget thriller to be released on home video now other than for its lead, Kiefer Sutherland. The once languishing almost has-been actor has enjoyed a career revival of late as Jack Bauer in the hit Fox television series 24 (now into its seventh season in the US).
And I urge you to check out the pulse-pounding series of tightly wound action, suspense and political intrigue if you haven’t. Because you’ll most likely find much more in any episode of 24 to satisfy the action junkie in you than this half-baked meandering pile of mess (and that is taking into account the low standards of a B-movie which this film obviously is).
Not that its premise shows no promise. The idea of a professional killer going on his one last job before retirement has been done to death but Kiefer’s character Arthur Banks turns out to be one Ivy League educated hitman. And in the first few opening minutes, he is seen coolly dispatching a female whom we find out later is his partner that he has no need for. Unfortunately, what potential in milking this into something different is quickly wasted in an hour-long cat and mouse chase between Banks and the FBI.
Indeed, nothing really happens during the chase and the only thing it succeeds in accomplishing is making this already scant 80-minutes movie seem longer than it really is. And that’s also because the supposedly sexual tension that writers Richard Greenberg and Wally Nichols try to develop between Banks and his newfound partner Bennie (Melora Walters) fizzles more than sizzles. In what is best described as miscasting, the pair shares so little chemistry with each other that it’s hard to believe a hitman like Banks would lose his head over her.
All this futile to and fro then suddenly culminates in a last-ditch attempt to inject some sort of life into the story. How else can you explain the sudden double-cross and then triple-cross among the characters without much motivation explained for each? And on that note, writer/director Richard Greenberg’s film becomes even more frustrating for the viewer hoping for a much better payload at the end.
Even for fans of Kiefer Sutherland (that’s me included), there’s so little that this pointless movie offers that it can only be considered an embarrassment. So instead of wasting your time on this, go get his far superior 24. As Jack Bauer would say, “Damn it! This is not good!”
SPECIAL FEATURES :
The 4x3 format will fit your normal TV screen nicely and the visual transfer is good enough. There’s not much action to be had here so the Dolby 2.0 track suffices.
by Gabriel Chong