Review: ‘Judgment Night’

The most chilling aspect of the urban thriller Judgment Night is truly how infinitely superior its craft is to its art. This is an exceedingly well directed, cleverly filmed and edited, tension-filled affair. It is also a wholly preposterous, muddled, paranoid view of the inner-city nightmare where the slightest misstep is sure to have a fateful result.

The most chilling aspect of the urban thriller Judgment Night is truly how infinitely superior its craft is to its art. This is an exceedingly well directed, cleverly filmed and edited, tension-filled affair. It is also a wholly preposterous, muddled, paranoid view of the inner-city nightmare where the slightest misstep is sure to have a fateful result.

The action pivots around a boys’ night out in which four young men head from the suburbs to a big boxing match in downtown Chicago. En route they run into gridlock and take an offramp into a really bad neighborhood. It doesn’t take much to guess what happens next.

Apart from where they live, their age, vocation and attitude provide no linking bond. Frank (Emilio Estevez) is married, has a child and may or may not be out of work. His brother John (Stephen Dorff) is alienated by something that is never defined, and Mike’s (Cuba Gooding Jr) presence has no other explanation apart from racial diversity.

Script is one long line of falling dominoes defined more by gravity than logic. Amid the rubble, Estevez and Denis Leary, as the chief goon, comport themselves with some dignity and skill.

Judgment Night

Production

Largo/Universal. Director Stephen Hopkins; Producer Gene Levy; Screenplay Lewis Colick; Camera Peter Levy; Editor Timothy Wellburn; Music Alan Silvestri; Art Director Joseph Nemec III

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1993. Running time: 109 MIN.

With

Emilio Estevez Cuba Gooding Jr Denis Leary Stephen Dorff Jeremy Piven Peter Greene
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