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The Hard Truth

Dr. Chandler

Dr. Chandler

Etheridge … Eric Roberts

Jonah Mantz … Michael Rooker

Lisa Kantrell … Lysette Anthony

With: Ray Baker, Don Yesso.

Aby-the-numbers action thriller with the time-honored ingredients of a gruff, jaded cop, a slick safecracker and a curvaceous, double-crossing femme fatale, “The Hard Truth” provides few surprises but should prove serviceable enough as video fare.

After some drab preamble, the souped-up opening tracks a subway station shootout, which ends with daredevil cop Jonah (Michael Rooker) wiping out a crazed killer. His itchy trigger finger gets him swiftly suspended by Internal Affairs.

Jonah’s babe, Lisa (Lysette Anthony), has her own work woes, with her corrupt councilman boss (Ray Baker) insisting on more from her than simple shorthand. When Lisa proposes filching the $ 3 million mob handout her boss took for pushing through a building contract, Jonah opts in, also blackmailing shifty electronics wiz Dr. Chandler Etheridge (Eric Roberts) to come in on the deal.

But one look at the doc, and formerly sack-happy Lisa has a headache where Jonah’s concerned. This spells bad tidings all round.

Action scenes will hardly keep Walter Hill awake nights, but they sustain a reasonably brisk pace — if not brisk enough to disguise a clanging lack of heat in the sexual department.

Chief shortcoming is Brit export Anthony, who looks the ticket and purrs in a convincing Yank accent, but on the smolder-ometer rates somewhere on a par with Sandra Dee. Other thesps deliver less wooden but strictly routine turns. Tech input strikes the same purely functional note.

The Hard Truth

Production: A Promark Entertainment Group, Spectator Films presentation of a Force Majeure production. Produced by Brad Southwick, Gary DePew. Executive producers, Carol M. Rossi, Steve Beswick, Joseph M. Cohen, David Newlon. Directed by Kristine Peterson. Screenplay, Jonathan Tydor.

Crew: Camera (color), Ross Berryman, editor, Kert Vander Meulen; music, Daniel Licht; production design, Michael Perry; art direction, David Blass; costume design, Yvonne Marie Cervantes; sound (Ultra-Stereo), Brian Bidder; associate producer, Jon Kramer; assistant director , Wade Danielson; casting, Elisa Goodman, Abra Edelman. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 18, 1994. Running time:100 MIN.

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