Alan Hruska's sophomore outing, after the clumsy, whimsy-laden "Nola," sticks closer to the helmer's solid law background. Results, though only marginally more realistic, nevertheless conform to recognizably earthbound genre templates as a young counselor's first important case ushers in a Mafia boss, a beautiful, drug-addicted key witness and an eye-patched, samurai sword-wielding client.

Alan Hruska’s sophomore outing, after the clumsy, whimsy-laden “Nola,” sticks closer to the helmer’s solid law background. Results, though only marginally more realistic, nevertheless conform to recognizably earthbound genre templates as a young counselor’s (Anson Mount) first important case ushers in a Mafia boss (Jake Weber), a beautiful, drug-addicted key witness (Erica Leerhsen) and an eye-patched, samurai sword-wielding client (Dan Hedeya). Strong cast builds considerable goodwill toward the narrative, but the script’s internal logic is as formulaic and half-baked as the pic’s action is blocky and unconvincing. Theatrical outlook may hinge on the rising-star leads.

As Francis Ford Coppola did in his legal eagle “The Rainmaker,” Hruska relies on bravura acting turns to carry the plot. Mount brings a nice, self-deprecating humor, which dovetails neatly with the rueful, been-around pro played by Jamey Sheridan Weber channels flashes of his “Medium” domesticity into his loving father/monstrous hubby psychopath. But it is Leerhsen as a magnificently atypical junkie who steals the show. Characters, however, once trotted out with requisitely colorful personality trappings, are simply slotted back into the safely apolitical, by-the-numbers genre machinery.

The Warrior Class

Production

An Archer Entertainment production in association with The Talking Pictures Co. Produced by Jill Footlick, Rachel Peters, Petina Cole, Laird Adamson. Directed, written by Alan Hruska.

Crew

Camera (color), John Thomas; editor, Marc Laub; music, Andy Farber. Reviewed at Hamptons Film Festival, Oct. 21, 2005. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Anson Mount, Erica Leerhsen, Jake Weber, Dan Hedeya, Jamey Sheridan, Robert Vaughn.
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