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.

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.

Rescue Me

Production

A Cannon release produced in association with Apollo Pictures. Produced by Richard Alfieri. Executive producers, Jere Henshaw, David A. Smitas. Directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman. Screenplay, Mike Snyder.

Crew

Camera (color), Hanania Baer; editor, Bert Glatstein; music, Al Kasha, Joel Hirschhorn, David Waters; production design, Elyne Barbara Ceder; set decoration, Gary Moreno; costume design, Lennie Barin; sound (Ultra-Stereo), Richard Birnbaum; associate producers, Russ Chesley, Joseph M. Eastwood, Greg Johnson, Mike Snyder; assistant director, Robert Sonntag; casting, Nancy Lara Hansch. Reviewed at the Pacific Hollywood, L.A., Dec. 4, 1993. MPAA Rating: PG. Running time: 90 min.

With

Daniel (Mac) MacDonald - Michael Dudikoff
Fraser Sweeney - Stephen Dorff
Ginny - Ami Dolenz
Rowdie - Peter DeLuise
Kurt - William Lucking
Sarah Sweeney - Dee Wallace-Stone
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