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The Warrior Class

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.

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

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

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