You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Phoenix

It's just a matter of degrees that separates the good cops from the bad ones in "Phoenix." And though the film attempts to give the genre material a hip, complex spin, the efforts are largely tiresome and uninspired. Pic has a bigscreen sheen, but because it covers all too familiar territory, it would be bettered served as a pay cable premiere.

With:
Harry Collins - Ray Liotta Mike Henshaw - Anthony LaPaglia Leila - Anjelica Huston James Nutter - Daniel Baldwin Fred Shuster - Jeremy Piven Chicago - Tom Noonan Clyde Webber - Xander Berkely Louie - Giancarlo Esposito Veronica - Brittany Murphy Katie Shuster - Kari Wuhrer

It’s just a matter of degrees that separates the good cops from the bad ones in “Phoenix.” And though the film attempts to give the genre material a hip, complex spin, the efforts are largely tiresome and uninspired. Technically, pic has a bigscreen sheen, but because it covers all too familiar territory, it would be bettered served as a pay cable premiere with some modest video afterlife.

The plot centers on four Phoenix detectives, particularly gambling addict Harry Collins (Ray Liotta) and the pliantly corruptible Mike Henshaw (Anthony LaPaglia). Harry’s in way over his head to loan sharks and eventually is driven to hit a crime czar’s club (where Mike works after hours) with his fellow officers to get the cash to pay his debt. But lurking in the background is a sanctimonious internal affairs officer (Xander Berkely).

Despite its many plot twists, Eddie Richey’s script is largely predictable. But he peppers the characters with odd quirks: One of the heavies lisps, a bad cop acts the class clown, and Harry, just to show he’s no fool, makes references to Dostoyevsky and King Kong. The effect is contrived rather than providing the sort of ironic edge that serves film noir so well.

Director Danny Cannon has a keen sense of ambience, directing the piece with a technical assurance that cannot overcome the flyweight material. Even the performances have the feel of actors recycling past work that had considerably greater texture. This “Phoenix” is mired in the ashes.

Phoenix

Production: Lakeshore Entertainment presents a Paradox Films production. Produced by Victoria Nevinny and Tracie Graham. Executive producers, Tom Rosenberg, Sigurjon Sighvtsson, Ted Tannebaum. Co-producers, Ray Liotta, Candace Veach. Directed by Danny Cannon. Screenplay, Eddie Richey.

Crew: Camera (Eastman, Panavision widescreen), James L. Carter; editor, Zach Staenberg; music, Graeme Revell; production designer, Charles Breen; costume designer, Alexandra Walker; casting, Rick Pagano. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May, 14, 1998. Running time: 104 MIN.

With: Harry Collins - Ray Liotta Mike Henshaw - Anthony LaPaglia Leila - Anjelica Huston James Nutter - Daniel Baldwin Fred Shuster - Jeremy Piven Chicago - Tom Noonan Clyde Webber - Xander Berkely Louie - Giancarlo Esposito Veronica - Brittany Murphy Katie Shuster - Kari Wuhrer

More Film

  • Hunter Killer

    Film Review: 'Hunter Killer'

    It’s just a matter of degrees that separates the good cops from the bad ones in “Phoenix.” And though the film attempts to give the genre material a hip, complex spin, the efforts are largely tiresome and uninspired. Technically, pic has a bigscreen sheen, but because it covers all too familiar territory, it would be […]

  • Bruce Dern arrives at the 2016

    Bruce Dern Hospitalized With Possible Hip Fracture

    It’s just a matter of degrees that separates the good cops from the bad ones in “Phoenix.” And though the film attempts to give the genre material a hip, complex spin, the efforts are largely tiresome and uninspired. Technically, pic has a bigscreen sheen, but because it covers all too familiar territory, it would be […]

  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

    DGA Accused of Bias Against Female Directing Teams by 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' Director

    It’s just a matter of degrees that separates the good cops from the bad ones in “Phoenix.” And though the film attempts to give the genre material a hip, complex spin, the efforts are largely tiresome and uninspired. Technically, pic has a bigscreen sheen, but because it covers all too familiar territory, it would be […]

  • Chicuarotes

    Gael Garcia Bernal’s ‘Chicuarotes’ Picked up by Cinepolis Distribution

    It’s just a matter of degrees that separates the good cops from the bad ones in “Phoenix.” And though the film attempts to give the genre material a hip, complex spin, the efforts are largely tiresome and uninspired. Technically, pic has a bigscreen sheen, but because it covers all too familiar territory, it would be […]

  • Galveston

    Film Review: 'Galveston'

    It’s just a matter of degrees that separates the good cops from the bad ones in “Phoenix.” And though the film attempts to give the genre material a hip, complex spin, the efforts are largely tiresome and uninspired. Technically, pic has a bigscreen sheen, but because it covers all too familiar territory, it would be […]

  • Halloween

    'Halloween' to Make a Killing With Opening Weekend in Mid-$70 Millions

    It’s just a matter of degrees that separates the good cops from the bad ones in “Phoenix.” And though the film attempts to give the genre material a hip, complex spin, the efforts are largely tiresome and uninspired. Technically, pic has a bigscreen sheen, but because it covers all too familiar territory, it would be […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content