Friday, January 7, 2011

Judgment Night (1993)

It's kind of weird for me to review 1993's "Judgment Night." When it comes to action movies, I tend to review low rent films that go direct to DVD, and not major studio fare from the 90's that most people have forgotten. Well, I guess times change or something. Or maybe I'm just bored.

Anyways, the film deals with four guys-Frank Wyatt (Emilio Estevez), his brother John (Stephen Dorff), and his pals Mike Peterson (Cube Gooding jr.) and Ray Cochran (Jeremy Piven) on their way to a boxing match. Well, they get stuck in heavy traffic, and decide to take a wrong turn. Well, said wrong turn ends up in gang-land so to speak, and they end up seeing a brutal murder perpetrated by the ruthless Fallon (Dennis Leary), so they find themselves on the run from Fallon and his thugs.

There isn't much to say about "Judgment Night." The acting is fine, with Estevez playing the everyman whose pushed to the limit (leading to an obvious tribute to "Heart of Darkness"-even more obvious when you consider who his dad is), Cuba being the loose cannon of the bunch, Piven being the "smooth talker", and Dorff the trouble making younger brother. Granted, they're all people we've seen before, but they play them well.The action scenes are also handled well, with each one handled with at least a modicum of suspense, and while not gory, can at least be attention grabbing.

As far as flaws go, Leary isn't so impressive. Granted, he's proven to be a good actor, but here he's just playing a sadistic villain version of his stand-up persona. He has his moments, but I'm amazed he didn't talk about being the alpha-male while smoking cigarettesThe big problem I had with the movie is the fact that you've seen this all before. Yeah, there's a little suspense, but you pretty much know how this is all going to end, what's going to happen to most of the characters, and whose going to come out on top. It's not boring, but it's not too exciting either.

So, is "Judgment Night" worth watching? Well, for a boring weekend afternoon, it's a decent enough time waster, and has it's moments, even though it's been done better. Whether or not that sounds like a recommendation is totally up to you.

Rating: 5.5/10

Before "Judgment Night", director Stephen Hopkins did "A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child" and "Predator 2." His other efforts include a segment for the TV movie "Vault of Horror I", the Jeff Bridges/Tommy Lee-Jones effort "Blown Away", The Val Kilmer/Michael Douglas venture "The Ghost in the Darkness", and the all around bad "Lost in Space" movie. His most recent genre venture was the forgettable at best "The Reaping."

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