Review: ‘The Wharf Rat’

Filmed in Los Angeles, New York and Ontario, Canada, by Showtime Entertainment Group. Producer, Paul Kimatian; director-writer, Jimmy Huston; story, Huston, Kimatian; camera, Levie Isaacks; editor, Christopher Rouse; production design, Rocco Mateo; art director , Terry Wareham; sound, Bryan Day; music, Mervyn Warren. TX:Cast: Lou Diamond Phillips, Rachel Ticotin, Judge Reinhold, Scott Cohen, Rita Moreno, William Dunlop, Alan Vint, Paul Willson, Peter Radon, Loren Farmer, Wilfred Bray, Steven Randazzo, Beau Starr, Thoywell Hemmings, Judy Coffey, Rusty Ryan, Stephen Jackson, Jank Azman, Desmond Campbell, Jean Luke Cote, Scott Wickware, Nicole Farmer, Ray Paisley, Don De Fina, Richard Blackburn, Jeff Christensen, Shawn Lawrence, Chris Peterson, J.J. Murray, Danny White. Though billed as a suspense thriller, there are few thrills and little suspense in "The Wharf Rat," a tale of corrupt cops and brotherly love backdropped by the smarmy underground of dockside denizens. Stars Lou Diamond Phil-lips and Judge Reinhold deliver adequate perfs, with the latter displaying a darker, more diabolical side than his typical jovial sidekick roles. But scripter Jimmy Huston (working from a story by him and producer Paul Kimatian) quickly puts on the brakes, and takes viewers on a meandering trip that serves up flat emotional sequences and easily anticipated plot twists.

Filmed in Los Angeles, New York and Ontario, Canada, by Showtime Entertainment Group. Producer, Paul Kimatian; director-writer, Jimmy Huston; story, Huston, Kimatian; camera, Levie Isaacks; editor, Christopher Rouse; production design, Rocco Mateo; art director , Terry Wareham; sound, Bryan Day; music, Mervyn Warren. TX:Cast: Lou Diamond Phillips, Rachel Ticotin, Judge Reinhold, Scott Cohen, Rita Moreno, William Dunlop, Alan Vint, Paul Willson, Peter Radon, Loren Farmer, Wilfred Bray, Steven Randazzo, Beau Starr, Thoywell Hemmings, Judy Coffey, Rusty Ryan, Stephen Jackson, Jank Azman, Desmond Campbell, Jean Luke Cote, Scott Wickware, Nicole Farmer, Ray Paisley, Don De Fina, Richard Blackburn, Jeff Christensen, Shawn Lawrence, Chris Peterson, J.J. Murray, Danny White. Though billed as a suspense thriller, there are few thrills and little suspense in “The Wharf Rat,” a tale of corrupt cops and brotherly love backdropped by the smarmy underground of dockside denizens. Stars Lou Diamond Phil-lips and Judge Reinhold deliver adequate perfs, with the latter displaying a darker, more diabolical side than his typical jovial sidekick roles. But scripter Jimmy Huston (working from a story by him and producer Paul Kimatian) quickly puts on the brakes, and takes viewers on a meandering trip that serves up flat emotional sequences and easily anticipated plot twists.

Petey Martin (Phillips) tries to expose the killers of his police officer brother Matt (Scott Cohen), while aided by a reporter named Dexter Ireland (Rachel Ticotin).

Huston downplays the early interplay between the brothers Martin, turning what could have been an interesting dynamic into a story aside: The relationship is seemingly minimized, but the re-

venge motive is trumpeted.

TX:Rita Moreno, as the time-worn mother of the two, drops in briefly and proves to be the show’s lone bright spot.

Reinhold is believable as the arrogant honcho of the corrupt cop squad, who shoots, steals and lies his way to the top.

Because his perf is a stark departure from such signature roles as in the “Beverly Hills Cop” franchise or “The Santa Clause,” it may catch some viewers by surprise (like some of the gruesome violence he perpetrates).

Phillips, as the chain-smoking launderer of stolen merchandise, does plenty of the former but little of thelatter. His perf is efficient, but far from stellar. Ticotin, a formidable presence if given the right material, comes off lifeless and uninteresting.

And Huston’s directing can’t save the script.

But vidpic at least has some visual high-water marks, aided by editor Christopher Rouse, who helps make the story’s shoot-outs and action sequences real with fluid shot selections; and production designer Rocco Mateo, who syncs up the right look for the piece.

The Wharf Rat

(Sun. (3), 8-10 p.m., Showtime)

Production

Show's fast-paced beginning offers an arresting premise, tracking an ex-con who tries to outwit a corrupt band of cops.
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