Kim Basinger finds herself boxed up after all in this vehicle about a female bank robber, which isn’t bad but just gets where it’s going very slowly. With Basinger and Val Kilmer generating little romantic chemistry, and the action uninspired, pic seems unlikely to steal away with a major box office haul.
Surprisingly, former video director Russell Mulcahy (“Highlander”) offers little flash in what turns out to be a standard caper movie, with a dose of old-fashioned motherhood thrown in for calculated good measure.
Just paroled after six years in prison, bank robber Karen McCoy (Basinger) is like Michael Corleone in “The Godfather III”– no matter how hard she tries to get out of the safe-cracking biz, they keep pulling her back.
In this case, big-time criminal Jack Schmidt (Terence Stamp) kidnaps Karen’s son (Zach English) as a means of compelling her to knock off an Atlanta bank. With a parasitic ex-husband, Karen’s lone ally is J.T. (Kilmer), a none-too-bright small-timer whose m.o. includes robbing convenience stores with a faulty gun and stealing Betamax equipment, apparently unaware that virtually nobody uses it anymore.
Writers William Davies and William Osborne (“Stop or My Mom Will Shoot!”) don’t provide much firepower in the laughs department, and build an inherent flaw into the movie’s setup — namely, why go through the lengthy process of having parolee Karen rejected by employers when Jack ends up simply blackmailing her into returning to crime anyway?
Mulcahy’s direction provides scant suspense, and the final bank job doesn’t blaze any trails for anyone who’s seen a caper movie. Similarly, the payoff may satisfy the undemanding, but most viewers will see it coming a mile off.
Projecting smarts in addition to her good looks, Basinger proves a reasonably effective lead, although this crime-oriented take on balancing work and motherhood has at best a rather inadvertently amusing feminist bent.
Kilmer provides a few laughs but has little to work with, playing a character so consistently dense it’s hard to see where an attraction between the two could develop. Stamp, meanwhile, trips over a truly awful Southern accent — perhaps belated payback from across the water for Kevin Costner’s off-and-on stab at a British brogue in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.”
Tech credits are generally sound, from Brad Fiedel’s sleek score to the bank vault’s cathedral-like design. It bears noting, however, that Universal’s marketing crew has pulled a fast one on viewers: Basinger never dons a skin-tight spandex outfit like the one featured in the promo.
For that matter, when it comes to capers, “The Real McCoy” proves something of a misrepresentation as well: Anyone who really wants to see the real McCoy in this genre should rent “Thief.”