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Hollow Point

The humor is often strained but the actors are always game in "Hollow Point," a modestly entertaining opus that tries to inject a "Moonlighting" style of levity into a routine action-adventure plot. Leads Thomas Ian Griffith and Tia Carrere evidence a potent sexual chemistry and develop a nicely edgy give-and-take as rival law-enforcement agents on the trail of a crime syndicate mastermind (John Lithgow).

The humor is often strained but the actors are always game in “Hollow Point,” a modestly entertaining opus that tries to inject a “Moonlighting” style of levity into a routine action-adventure plot. Leads Thomas Ian Griffith and Tia Carrere evidence a potent sexual chemistry and develop a nicely edgy give-and-take as rival law-enforcement agents on the trail of a crime syndicate mastermind (John Lithgow).

There’s a lot more than professional rivalry at work here: Whoever collars Lithgow gets to claim his ill-gotten gain for his or her agency. (She’s FBI, he’s DEA.) Carrere is so eager to nab the villain that, in the opening scenes, she nearly marries the son of a fugitive Russian gangster in cahoots with Lithgow. But when a wedding-day shootout leaves the groom-to-be dead, Lithgow helps his cohort win revenge against Carrere by hiring a hit man (Donald Sutherland) to kill Carrere’s best friend.

Naturally, Carrere wants to murder the hit man. But Griffith wants to keep him alive, figuring the killer, having been betrayed by Lithgow, will help them. This leads to the formation of a three-way partnership, as Sutherland, Griffith and Carrere trigger internecine warfare among Lithgow’s partners.

Sutherland’s flamboyant portrayal of the hit man as a mischievous, music-loving jokester is self-consciously cute but undeniably funny. Lithgow relies on dry wit and messianic megalomania to sell his performance as the crime syndicate mastermind, to good effect. Vet helmer Sidney J. Furie (“The Ipcress File,” “Lady Sings the Blues”) is much too fond of igniting explosions whenever the pace flags. Otherwise, he does an adequate job of keeping things moving and amusing.

Hollow Point

Production: A Vidmark Entertainment homevideo release of a Nu Image production in association with Astral Programming Enterprises and Phoenician Films. Produced by Nicolas Clermont. Executive producer, Elie Samaha. Directed by Sidney J. Furie. Screenplay, Robert Geoffrion, James H. Stewart.

Crew: Camera (color), David Franco; editor, Yves Langlois. MPAA rating: R. Running time: 102 MIN.

With: With: Thomas Ian Griffith (Max Parish), Tia Carrere (Diane Norwood), John Lithgow (Thomas Livingston), Donald Sutherland (Garrett Lawton).

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