You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Set Up

Our hero finds himself with a dead body in the trunk of his car, a photo of him dragging the corpse, and three thugs, led by fight promoter and fellow ex-con Kliff (James Russo), who blackmail him into getting them through the security devices he built.

Our hero finds himself with a dead body in the trunk of his car, a photo of him dragging the corpse, and three thugs, led by fight promoter and fellow ex-con Kliff (James Russo), who blackmail him into getting them through the security devices he built.

Everyone goes through paces with aplomb, and Zane (“Sniper,””Dead Calm”), a standout as the put-upon hero, suggests he’d be a natural for more sophisticated fare. Russo’s electric Kliff role wears thin fast. Sara makes a valiant if vain attempt to make Gina more complex than she is. Droll Coburn, of course, plays it with self-assurance.

Writer Michael Thoma’s plot springs few jolts, though director Hamilton keeps a secure hand on the bank robbery segs, most of which could be ticked off by viewers. The blood quotient is high enough for cable’s demands. Dull shoulders-and-sheets sequences drone on.

Production looks smart, tech credits and location filming are top-flight. Designer Richard Reynolds uses a downtown L.A. Bank of America and the former L.A. Herald Examiner building as rich locales for the frenetic action. Conrad Pope’s fresh score furnishes some tension.

The Set Up

(Sun. (23), 8-10 p.m., Showtime)

Production: Filmed in L.A. by TriCoast and MGM/UA. Exec producer, Barry Bernardi; producer, Julia Verdin; director, Strathford Hamilton; co-producer, writer, Michael Thoma; based on book "My Laugh Comes Last" by James Hadley Chase; camera, David Lewis; editor, Marcy Hamilton; production designer, Richard Reynolds; sound, Peter Mesiselmann; music, Conrad Pope. Cast: Billy Zane, Mia Sara, James Russo, James Coburn, Louis Mandylor, Tiny (Zeus) Lister, Mark Rolston, Margaret Avery, Lisa Collins, Vincent Deadrick Jr., Shannon Wilcox, Paula Coburn, Ed Wasser, Brent Morris, Tom Muzila, Stephen Lofaro, Roy Jenson, Kevin McLaughlin. Anything but a top copy of a nerve-jangling caper story, "The Set Up" turns in cleverness and mechanics for human challenges. Despite a convincing interp by Billy Zane of an ex-con forced to engineer an elaborate bank job, the telefilm under Strathford Hamilton's direction just wears itself out. Back in circulation after six years up the river for busting into a bank, Charles Thorpe (Zane) is hired by bank prez Jeremiah Cole (James Coburn), who wants whiz kid Thorpe to design a foolproof security system for his bank. Thorpe's almost immediately lassoed by Gina (Mia Sara), Cole's ex-sex kitten, who slips into Thorpe's newly free life.

More TV

  • NEW YORK, NY – JUNE, 24:

    LGBTQ Stars Honored at Variety’s Power of Pride Celebration

    New York City felt the full power of pride on Monday, as Variety celebrated its inaugural issue devoted to the annual recognition of LGBTQ people worldwide. At an intimate gathering at lower east side Manhattan hotel The Orchid, rooftop bar Mr. Purple hosted Variety’s cover stars and luminaries for cocktails and the unveiling of the [...]

  • WWE

    WWE and PP Sports Extend China Partnership

    WWE and PP Sports have signed a new multi-year agreement that will keep WWE programming airing live in Mandarin in China. In the past three years of the partnership, PP Sports has delivered more than 300 episodes of WWE programming. PP Sports will offer “Raw,” “Smackdown” and the WWE Network as a subscription VOD service [...]

  • Billy Eichner Power of Pride Variety

    Billy Eichner on Taylor Swift's 'Calm Down' Backlash

    When Taylor Swift released her “You Need to Calm Down” music video, it seemed like every member of the LGBTQ in Hollywood was included — except for Billy Eichner. “I’m still not gay enough for Taylor Swift — or too gay — I don’t know what it is,” Eichner joked at Variety’s Power of Pride [...]


    TV News Roundup: 'Highwire Live in Times Square' Tops Sunday Night Ratings

    In today’s TV news roundup, ABC’s “Highwire Live in Times Square” tops Sunday night ratings, and “Total Bellas” has been renewed for a fifth season. DATES FX will air the special event “Peabody Presents: Stories of the Year” on July 7. The program will showcase the issues honored at the 78th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Scream' Series Moves From MTV to VH1 for July Debut

    The long-gestating third season of the “Scream” series is finally debuting–but not on its original network. Variety has confirmed that the series will air on VH1 instead of MTV as originally planned. “Scream” will debut on VH1 on July 8 and air two one-hour episodes back-to-back for three straight nights. The third season of the [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Video of Jussie Smollett With Rope Around His Neck Released by Chicago Police

    The Chicago Police Department released new surveillance footage and files in regards to the Jussie Smollett hoax case on Monday, including one that shows the “Empire” actor shortly after the alleged attack. In one of the videos, police body-cam footage shows authorities entering Smollett’s Chicago apartment, led by his manager, Frank Gatson. Smollett is found [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content