As soon as you spot Larry Cohen’s writing credit, and hear a snippet of Jay Ferguson’s all-synthesizer score, you know your in for a schlock thriller. (Confirmed by a schlock theme song over the end credits.) But with decent megging from John Flynn and surprisingly invested perfs from James Woods & Brian Dennehy, it’s pretty tasty schlock. (Or is until a mess of an ending.) Dennehy plays one of those author/cops (think Joseph Wambaugh*) whose best work lies behind him until a villain from the past (Woods) appears with a proposition for a new tell-all book. What if I feed you the murderous habits of a local political/industrial VIP? I vouch for the dirt; you write the book. And Dennehy can believe it all since his male Scheherazade was once this guy’s hit man. Will Dennehy write it up for publication; or write the scary creep up for past killings? Filmed with more honest location stuff than usual for an ‘80s quickie, and with nice pacey action sprinkled along the way, there's only a few sub-par supporting players (Dennehy’s blank kid; Victoria Tennant’s chilly scold of an agent) and that fumbled finale keeping this one from its lively potential. Worth seeing, especially for Dennehy who generally found better roles on stage than on film.
DOUBLE-BILL: *See James Woods in real Wambaugh: THE ONION FIELD/’79; THE BLACK MARBLE/’80.