Gifted actor Stephen Dorff should not be wasted in films like “Rescue Me,” a dull, formulaic coming-of-age saga that masquerades as an adventure actioner. Theatrical release is just a warm-up en route to video for this embarrassingly inept picture.
Set in an unidentified Nebraska town, story centers on smart adolescent Fraser Sweeney (Dorff), who lives with his mother (Dee Wallace-Stone) but never knew his father, a Vietnam hero.
The never-been-kissed Dorff is infatuated with attractive class queen Ginny (Ami Dolenz), who is engaged to another boy.
When Dolenz is kidnapped in a silly plot involving two dumb thugs (Peter DeLuise and William Lucking), Dorff joins forces with tough-but-sensitive Vietnam vet Michael Dudikoff, who becomes his surrogate father and thus instructs him how to behave like a man.
Every element in Mike Snyder’s screenplay is a recycled cliche, from the naive-but-handsome kid who needs to get laid to the sentimental father-son saga that evolves between Dorff and Dudikoff.
Dorff’s personal charm and natural talent help, but Dudikoff plays a disturbingly stereotypical role.
Helmer Arthur Allan Seidelman stages the story, including its chase scenes, in a slow, monotonous tempo.
Tech credits are flat and on the raw side, particularly Hanania Baer’s murky lensing and Bert Glatstein’s jarring editing that occasionally truncates scenes before they’re over.