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It’s Showtime Nails

Writer Larry Ferguson plunges down that deeply dug rut about the cop trying to repay the killers responsible for his partner's murder, but it's a foul-mouthed, brutal, bare-breasted version that can't conceal its lack of orginality. Casting Dennis Hopper in the cop role was a good enough idea, but the vidpic's weary plotting and blood-letting wear thin almost immediately.

Writer Larry Ferguson plunges down that deeply dug rut about the cop trying to repay the killers responsible for his partner’s murder, but it’s a foul-mouthed, brutal, bare-breasted version that can’t conceal its lack of orginality. Casting Dennis Hopper in the cop role was a good enough idea, but the vidpic’s weary plotting and blood-letting wear thin almost immediately.

Harry Niles (Hopper), separated from wife Mary (Anne Archer) but noticeably still having sex with her, has the usual troubles with his captain and with prospective new partners after the first one’s dusted in an ambush no viewer could believe. Determined to find out what secret case the dead man was onto, Harry starts the tiresome trek around So. Calif.

Mary’s helping a congressman (Cliff DeYoung) gain re-election, but Harry’s suspicious because the pol has an ex-dope pusher (Keith David) helping him. The murderers’ tracks lead to Cuban immigrants, which viewers already know, and eventually to the splattering of blood, crude lingo and uninventive surprises.

One of the killers tries gunning Harry down while he’s taking a shower. To demonstrate how wild–or psychotic–Harry is, he leaps out of the shower and, nude, runs outdoors to shoot at the departing auto. What a guy! What a lawman!

The action’s swift if predictable under John Flynn’s undistinquished direction. Tomas Milian as a reluctant partner puts in a nice characterization. Hopper plays it tough but loving, Archer delivers her stet role acceptably, and DeYoung is credible as the dopey candidate. Luis Ramos and Raymond Cruz as the killers for hire are threatening.

Production designer Victoria Paul uses local sites–the Park Plaza Hotel, Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery, the Herald Examiner building, for instance–to good effect, and Mac Ahberg’s camerawork, Michael N. Knue’s editing are laudable for the worn out TV movie.

Bill Conti furnishes the appropriate score.

It’s Showtime Nails

(Sat.(25), 9-10:37 p.m., Showtime)

  • Production: Filmed around L.A. and Santa Monica by Viacom Pictures. Exec producer, Dale Rosenbloom; producer, George W. Perkins; director, John Flynn; writer, Larry Ferguson.
  • Crew: Camera, Mac Ahlberg; editor, Michael N. Knue; sound, Carey Lindley; music, Bill Conti; production designer, Victoria Paul.
  • Cast: Cast: Dennis Hopper, Anne Archer, Tomas Milian, Keith David, Carlos Carrasco, Charles Hallahan, Jay Acovone, Earl Billings, Cliff DeYoung, Luis Ramos, Raymond Cruz, Juan Fernandez, Teresa Crespo, Brian Markinson, John Hawkes, Martha Velez Johnson, Danny Trejo, Raoul N. Rizik, Jay Della, Dale Harimoto, Lyvingstone Holmes, Sharon Holmin, Ed Petsche, Philip Stephen Spencer, Richard Tanner, Church Ortiz, Mimi Champlin, Melissa Berger, William Hayes, Vincent J. Burns, Roger Callard, Joyce Matlock, Jarvais Hudson, Shelly Michelle.
  • Music By: