Though better than last year’s entry (in which Randy Quaid and Alex McArthur played the lead detectives), “Ice” still doesn’t cut it. There’s implied violence and a few knockabouts, but scripter Larry Cohen, without softening the vidpic’s hard casing, has been admirably restrained on blood, lingo and sex.
TX: TX:Filmed in Toronto by Diana Kerew Prods. Inc. and Hearst Entertainment. Exec producer, Diana Kerew; director- The story opens briskly enough with a chorine (Laura Catalano) stepping into the theater alley to get wiped out. Boyfriend Tim (Dean McDermott) doesn’t help the cause, so detective Steve Carella (Dale Midkiff) and his partner Meyer Meyer (Joe Pantoliano) are off on a chase.
The two work through a tricky storyline involving more murders, a sideshow of secondary characters and a pair of flamboyant grotesques passing as a monk and his razor-wielding co-worker (Nigel Bennett, Diane Douglas).
But Cohen’s dialogue too often falls flat, and Midkiff doesn’t deliver any pizzazz as the tough-talking detective, though he and live-in g.f. Teddy do pull off several touching scenes. Hearing-impaired Andrea Parker is tops as Teddy, Carella’s love.
Pantoliano’s Meyer is standard tough, while Eileen Burke is terrif as an undercover cop flirting with danger. Paul Johansson makes something credible of detective Kling, who’s emotionally scarred by his ex-wife (regal, beauteous Monika Schnarre). Lisa La Croix as a doomed prostie is solid, while Michael Gross is stuck with a stet role as the precinct lieutenant.
Bradford May’s flashy direction hands the dark crime drama plenty of vitality , and Bud Hayes’ editing sets a dazzling pace. Production designer Gerry Holmes makes Toronto into McBain’s fictional town of Isola, a gritty, dangerous burg with a gritty, dangerous underground. At least it looks the part.