Shot in early 1999 and seemingly shelved by Universal in the U.S., serial killer-cum-slasher thriller “D-Tox” is a further nail in Sylvester Stallone’s popularity coffin, following “Get Carter” and “Driven.” Uninteresting characters, bad acting, a complete absence of suspense and sloppy filmmaking have combined to make this as dead in European, Asian and South American markets (where it was released beginning Jan. 4 to a paltry $3.8 million cume thus far) as the many stiffs in the story. Video looks like its most profitable revenue stream Stateside.
FBI agent Jake Malloy (Stallone) leads the hunt for a sadistic killer who has mutilated and deep-sixed nine cops. While at a crime scene, Malloy gets a phone call from the murderer, who says he’s at Malloy’s house and about to murder the cop’s g.f., Mary (Dina Meyer). Said psycho also reveals his prime motive: to get back at Malloy for his poor investigation of another series of killings by the same guy some years earlier. He’s upset Malloy didn’t give him full due for the beauty of his handiwork. No, really.
After Mary is found dead, the cops track down a suspect to a warehouse area. Malloy storms through a door, ventilates the suspect’s chest — but finds he already hanged himself.
Three months later, Malloy is on the sauce, trying to erase his guilt over Mary’s death. His old FBI boss and friend, Hendricks (Charles S. Dutton), finally convinces him to go to a Wyoming detox clinic for law enforcement officers.
Situated in a house that looks like a fortress, and that has doubled in the past as both an army post and an insane asylum, the clinic is run by an ex-cop, Doc (Kris Kristofferson). In sketchy manner, the other employees are introduced, including the janitor, Hank (Tom Berenger), and a psychiatrist-cum-nurse, Jenny (Polly Walker). The patients include a Brit, Slater (Christopher Fulford); an arrogant SWAT operative, Noah (Robert Patrick); a drug addict, Jaworski (Jeffrey Wright), and an elderly Mountie, McKenzie (Robert Prosky).
Almost immediately, everyone starts quarreling or throwing hostile and meaningful looks at each other. A snowstorm cuts the clinic off from civilization, which worries Hendricks, who’s rented a cottage a few miles away to do some winter fishing. However, the only thing he finds is a frozen corpse in the lake.
At the clinic, people start to die at an alarmingly fast rate. Initially, the deaths are thought to be suicides, but it’s soon clear a madman is on the loose. As the body count mounts, Malloy suspects the killings may be linked to the death of his beloved Mary. So, with the help of Jenny, he springs into action.
Scottish-born helmer Jim Gillespie, who started in Brit TV and moved Stateside with the accomplished slasher “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” has badly lost his way in his sophomore outing. “D-Tox” is almost totally merit-free — sloppily constructed on a storytelling level (unexplained actions, illogical sequences) and without any genuine suspense or interesting characters to disguise the script’s weaknesses. (Dialogue is peppered with lines like, “The real bad things in life can make you stronger.”)
Once the story shifts to the clinic, action scenes are low-key until the finale, and pic is light on explicit gore throughout.
Like most of the cast, Stallone looks as confused as the character he plays, while Berenger goes further over the top than ever before. Only thesp to escape relatively unscathed, at least in the acting department, is Kristofferson as the clinic’s head.
Tech credits are OK, but nothing special. Interiors were lensed in Vancouver and exteriors in the mountains of British Columbia. Though shot in early 1999, pic bears a 2001 copyright date. Previous titles include “The Outpost” and “Eye See You.”