×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Deadfall

Watchable only for camp value, "Deadfall" is at its best when cameo-laden anarchy reigns. As a tribute to film noir, it won't make it to the late late show.

With:
Joe Donan ... Michael Biehn Mike/Lou Donan ... James Coburn Eddie ... Nicolas Cage Diane ... Sarah Trigger Pete ... Peter Fonda Steve Lebett ... Charlie Sheen Sam ... Talia Shire

Watchable only for camp value, “Deadfall” is at its best when cameo-laden anarchy reigns. As a tribute to film noir, it won’t make it to the late late show.

This feature bow from Christopher Coppola, Francis F.’s nephew, is a haphazard run at “Grifters”-type fun. It is rife with overripe writing — as in “Every time you fleece a sucker, it eats another piece of your soul”– and the Spillane-isms amuse but grow wearying, especially in the mouth of lead thesp Michael Biehn.

Blond, bland Biehn plays Joe Donan, the son of a veteran New York con man (James Coburn). When dad goes down in a sour scam, Joe headsout to Santa Monica to look up his estranged Uncle Lou (Coburn again) and runs into a new set of games involving crazed henchman Eddie (the director’s brother, Nicolas Cage) and his hot-stuff girlfriend Diane (Sarah Trigger).

Trigger probably has what it takes for comedy, but she’s as insubstantial as Biehn in the heat department. Call it “True Romance” syndrome, but the leads are forgettably blah next to the grotesques around them. Coburn and Cage aren’t exactly control freaks to begin with, and Coppola turns them utterly loose.

Unfortunately, when Cage’s character dies, so does the movie. An attempt to revive his sleazoid factor, via Charlie Sheen as a too-smooth pool shark, does more for Sheen’s comic rep than for the pic’s flagging momentum. By the end, the tale is so laden with red herrings and forced repartee that even die-hard genre-freaks will have dropped their frozen smiles.

Tech credits are OK, with jazzy music a plus, although lensing and design are not quite up to those ready references to Hitchcock, Welles and, well, Coppola. Losing a few minutes of deadwood might help block the bloated pic’s free fall from limited theatrical run, but it’s likely to end its days as a video oddity, saved for at-home Nicolas Cage retrospectives.

Deadfall

Production: A Trimark release of a Ted Fox Prods. production. Executive producers, Mark Amin, Gerson Fox, Gertrude Fox. Produced by Ted Fox. Directed by Christopher Coppola. Screenplay, Coppola, Nick Vallelonga.

Crew: Camera, Maryse Alberti; editor, Phillip Linson; music, Jim Fox. Reviewed at Vancouver Intl. Film Festival, Oct. 13, 1993. Running time: 113 MIN.

With: Joe Donan ... Michael Biehn Mike/Lou Donan ... James Coburn Eddie ... Nicolas Cage Diane ... Sarah Trigger Pete ... Peter Fonda Steve Lebett ... Charlie Sheen Sam ... Talia Shire

More Film

  • 'Who Will Write Our History' Review:

    Film Review: 'Who Will Write Our History'

    The most famous diarist of the Holocaust, Anne Frank, began to write down the drama of her daily life with no ulterior motive (apart from her teenage ambition to write fiction). But in March 1944, the year before she died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, she heard a radio broadcast by a member of the [...]

  • Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer

    Film News Roundup: 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' Trailer Sets Sony Pictures Record

    In today’s film news roundup, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” sets a studio record, Chris Meledandri and Glenn Close are honored, an art-house streaming service is unveiled, and “Cliffs of Freedom” gets a release. TRAILER STATS The first “Spider-Man: Far From Home” trailer has set a record as the biggest digital launch in Sony Pictures history [...]

  • Frank Grillo Hell on the Border

    Frank Grillo to Star in the Thriller 'Hell on the Border'

    Frank Grillo is set to star in the action-thriller “Hell on the Border” with Wes Miller directing. Miller also penned the script with Curtis Nichouls, Henry Penzi, and Sasha Yelaun producing. Ron Perlman is also on board to co-star. Plot details are unknown at this time. Production is currently underway in Birmingham, Ala. Grillo has [...]

  • Lee Unkrich Variety Oscars Nominees Lunch

    'Toy Story 3,' 'Coco' Director Lee Unkrich to Exit Pixar After 25 Years

    Lee Unkrich, who won Academy Awards for “Toy Story 3” and “Coco,” is departing Pixar Animation Studios after 25 years to spend more time with his family. Unkrich joined Pixar in 1994 after working as an assistant editor in television on “Silk Stalkings” and “Renegade.” He served as editor on Pixar’s first feature, 1995’s “Toy [...]

  • Velvet Buzzsaw trailer

    Netflix Original Movies: What to Look Forward To in 2019

    Following the biggest fourth-quarter worldwide subscriber gain ever and some controversy around increased prices in the U.S., Netflix looks to keep its momentum going into 2019. From Jan. 18 through March, the streaming site will release 10 original films, including action-packed thrillers, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi, quirky comedies, inspirational dramas, an artistic horror movie and a viral [...]

  • Third 'Fantastic Beasts' Production Start Pushed

    Third 'Fantastic Beasts' Production Start Pushed Back Several Months

    Warner Bros. is pushing back the production start date of its third “Fantastic Beasts” movie several months from July to the late fall, a spokesperson said Friday. Actors have been notified about the change in dates. The untitled third “Fantastic Beasts” movie has not yet set a release date. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find [...]

  • The Beatles Eight Days a Week

    Imagine's Documentary Arm Sets First-Look Pact With Apple (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries has set a first-look pact with Apple to develop non-fiction features and series. The deal comes as Imagine is investing heavily in the premium non-fiction arena. The company in June recruited RadicalMedia veteran Justin Wilkes to head Imagine Documentaries as president. The deal suggests that Apple sees docu [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content