Headed straight to vidbins is "Final Combination," a so-what serial-killer low-budgeter that manages to squander the combined talents of Michael Madsen and Lisa Bonet on a back-of-a-coaster script. The Propaganda Films production finally gets a token theatrical airing in the U.K. starting Nov. 18, almost a year after its initial press screening.

Headed straight to vidbins is “Final Combination,” a so-what serial-killer low-budgeter that manages to squander the combined talents of Michael Madsen and Lisa Bonet on a back-of-a-coaster script. The Propaganda Films production finally gets a token theatrical airing in the U.K. starting Nov. 18, almost a year after its initial press screening.

A blond Madsen plays Matt Dickson, a hockey player-turned-hard-bitten L.A. cop whose wife has walked and who now gets his kicks from a bottle and one-night stands. Roaming the streets is psycho boxer Welton (Brit actor Gary Stretch, a former pugilist) who batters girls to death in seedy motel rooms and uses the names of famous sluggers as aliases.

Enter journalist Catherine Briggs (Bonet), who points Dickson to a string of similar murders and soon jumps in the sack with him. Dickson, who’s mighty slow on the uptake, is alerted to the boxing connection by an old ex-pro (Clarence Landry) who runs the motel where the initial murders took place. Catherine, meanwhile, is pursuing her own agenda: Her sister was popped by Welton a while ago.

Madsen has trod these mean, noirish sets before, and here seems to be giving Robert Mitchum lessons in minimalist acting. Bonet briefly injects some life into the proceedings, but much of her dialogue sits awkwardly on her lips. Stretch is suitably menacing as the hard-as-nails serial wacko.

Director Nigel Dick, a founding director of Propaganda with a solid background in musicvids, brings a measure of style to the largely interior-shot movie, but can’t summon up much tension from a cornball script that is terminally light on plot. A final car chase comes too late to appease even genre fans.

Final Combination

Production

A Rank Film Distributors release (U.K.) of a Polygram Filmed Entertainment presentation of a Propaganda Films production. Produced by Joni Sighvatsson, Steve Golin, Gregg Fienberg. Executive producer, Gary Milkis. Line producer, Gregory Goodman. Directed by Nigel Dick. Screenplay, Larry Golin, from a screen story by Jonathan Tydor.

Crew

Camera (Foto-Kem color), David Bridges; editors, Henry Richardson, Jonathan Shaw; music, Rolfe Kent; production design, Jon Gary Steele; art direction, Douglas Hill; set decoration, Nancy Arnold; costume design, Alexandra Welker; sound (Ultra-Stereo), Jim Stuebe; stunt coordinator, Dan Bradley; assistant director, Thomas Patrick Smith; casting, Johanna Ray. Reviewed at Rank Preview Theater, London, Jan. 31, 1994. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Det. Matt Dickson ... Michael Madsen Catherine Briggs ... Lisa Bonet Richard Welton ... Gary Stretch Det. Chuck Rowland ... Tim Russ Donato ... Damian Chapa Lt. Stein ... Carmen Argenziano Ike (Point Man) Pointer ... Clarence Landry Sara ... Susan Byun Art Robinson ... Alan Toy
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