Mike Hammer, Mickey Spillane’s hard-boiled New York P.I. with a heart of flint, moved to Miami four years ago; his disturbing style, his attraction for violence and his busty companions shifted base with him. But in “Come Die With Me” Hammer sheds his raincoat and much of the jangling grit.
Rob Estes, whose squeaky-clean looks and unthreatening manner don’t much help the cause, limns the rough detective in this one, but it’s not much of a vidpic without Stacy Keach as Hammer.
A pretty dame, Trinity (Randi Ingerman), wants him to find her missing father. Hammer swallows it despite warnings from his assistant Velda (“Baywatch” phenomenon Pamela Anderson), who knows how to think.
The race is on to find Daddy, and writer John Lau’s intricate plotting does spring surprises.
The same flirtatious babes, supposedly smart remarks, falls from high places, torture, auto chases and crashes all moved south with Spillane; this time around , there’s a witness protection program and the sound of a woman vomiting thrown in.
Other changes in the format include making police Sgt. Pat Chambers a woman (Darlanne Fluegel) and soft-pedaling the bloodiness and bludgeoning. Sex is played down, but the leer hovers.
The handsome Estes projects neither wanton force nor smoldering anger. Fluegel passes muster and Anderson gives Velda smarts. Ingerman’s a plus and Bert Remsen as a racetrack ticket seller is a standout.
Production, directed without much suspense by Armand Mastroianni, looks more like a wan copy of “Miami Vice” than a Spillane cruncher, which ain’t good: People who dote on Spillane vidpix don’t tune in for pastels, they want red.
Tech credits are OK. Ron Ramin’s consistently rhythmic score sets the mood.