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Bird of Prey

Attractively lensed on location in Sofia, Bulgaria, this is a conventional thriller that hasn't quite got the extra punch needed to elevate it above video fare. But an interesting cast is well employed, with Jennifer Tilly rather good in her leading role as the ditzy daughter of a drug and arms dealer based in the former Communist country.

With:
Kily Griffith - Jennifer Tilly
Nikolai Milev - Boyan Milushev
Jonathan Griffith - Richard Chamberlain
Claire - Lesley Ann Warren
Eric Parker - Robert Carradine
Johnny - Lenny Von Dohlen

Attractively lensed on location in Sofia, Bulgaria, this is a conventional thriller that hasn’t quite got the extra punch needed to elevate it above video fare. But an interesting cast is well employed, with Jennifer Tilly rather good in her leading role as the ditzy daughter of a drug and arms dealer based in the former Communist country.

Produced in association with a private bank in Bulgaria (which gets a couple of visual plugs during the action), pic is lumbered with a routine plot provided by actor Boyan Milushev and three scripters.

Told in flashback as Nikolai (Milushev) awaits execution in a Sofia prison and tells his story to a priest, this is a basic saga of revenge.

As a child, Nikolai had seen his policeman father gunned down by an American, Griffith (Richard Chamberlain), who apparently dealt in arms and drugs even under the Communist regime. Now Nikolai is determined to avenge his father, and manages to seduce Griffith’s daughter, Kily (Tilly), who’s visiting him from the States, and then informs Griffith he’s kidnaped her.

Milushev is a dynamic, charismatic actor who could find more roles if he gets the right chances. Tilly, somewhat burdened by her distinctive voice, still makes Kily rather more interesting than she might have been, and Chamberlain is a hissable villain. Lesley Ann Warren seems to be enjoying herself in the marginal role of Griffith’s mistress; she dresses scantily and socks over three songs during the film’s overlong running time.

Director Temistocles Lopez, whose last effort was “Chain of Desire,” does an efficient job and is well served by cinematographer David Knaus, whose lush images of Bulgarian tourist spots should boost tourist trade in that country if audiences find the film.

The title is an obscure reference to a homily told to the hero by his father before he died.

Bird of Prey

U.S.-Bulgarian

Production: A BM5 Films/Sneak Preview Prods./First Private Bank (Sofia) Ltd. production. (International sales: Imago Organization, Los Angeles.) Produced by Boyan Milushev, Jonathan Debin. Executive producer, Steven J. Wolfe. Co-executive producers, Dimitar Zvezdev, Christo Marinov. Co-producer, Lynette Prucha. Directed by Temistocles Lopez. Screenplay, Boyan Milushev, James J. Mellon, Tracy Hall Adams, Lynette Prucha, from a story by Milushev.

Crew: Camera (Foto-Kem color), David Knaus; editor, Ila Von Hasperg, Adams; music, Brian Clifton; production design, Robert Harbour; sound (Dolby SR), Phillip Seretti; choreography, Jeffrey Hornaday; associate producers, Scott E. Schwimer, Peter N. Fowler; line producer, Dimitri Zvedzev; assistant director, Asparah Nikolov; casting, Carol Lefko. Reviewed at World Film Festival, Montreal (noncompeting), Aug. 27, 1995. Running time: 101 MIN.

With: Kily Griffith - Jennifer Tilly
Nikolai Milev - Boyan Milushev
Jonathan Griffith - Richard Chamberlain
Claire - Lesley Ann Warren
Eric Parker - Robert Carradine
Johnny - Lenny Von Dohlen

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