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Desperate Hours

Desperate is a fitting description for the Michael Cimino-directed fiasco Desperate Hours, a remake of the far-superior 1955 Humphrey Bogart film. From the opening scene of a sportscar speeding along a mountain road backed by a jarring, over-produced score, the 1990 movie heads straight downhill and right over the cliff. The picture is an urban-nightmare thriller starring the always-desperate-looking Mickey Rourke as Michael Bosworth, a volatile killer who escapes during his parole hearing with the help of his attorney and lover (Kelly Lynch). We learn early on that Bosworth is a genius and mastermind, but apparently he doesn't let that stop him from making one idiotic move after another. In a scheme that only makes sense to him, Bosworth's plan is to hide out in the home of a randomly chosen wealthy family while he waits for Lynch to rescue him. Not only is this scheme beyond comprehension, but if the guy were as smart as his IQ test says he is, he would have thought twice about choosing his partners. His brother (Elias Koteas) and his friend (David Morse) between themselves share less than half of Bosworth's intelligence quotient. The family that these hoodlums choose to hold hostage consists of a single mother (Mimi Rogers), her two children, and her estranged husband (Anthony Hopkins), who drops by even though no one in the family appears to like him. This cast of half-written, half-witted characters is full of people with problems. Hopkins (an actor far too big for such a confining part) is trying to earn his ex's trust back after leaving her for a younger woman who has now left him. Rogers, as the long-suffering semi-feminist wife, alternates between cringing and cowering. Morse staggers through the film with a "deer-caught-in-the headlights" expression possibly looking for a new agent or a way off the set. Poor Kelly Lynch can't seem to stay upright in high heels or keep her blouse buttoned. FBI agent Lindsay Crouse, not to be outdone by the incoherent Bosworth, has cooked up a mind-boggling scheme of her own to take Bosworth into custody and rescue the hostages. The problem is that no one can understand her plan or her accent. And Rourke, stuck with his inept sidekicks, just can't seem to get good help. Rourke is right for the part of Bosworth (after all, what could be scarier than having Mickey Rourke in your house — especially if he used your bathroom and tried on your clothes?), but he is forced to drop bons mots like, "A man is not really a man unless he can mix a proper martini or tie a bow tie." Talk about desperate for dialogue. What's left is a mess of a movie that Cimino has filled with style and flash but which lacks any semblance of substance or cohesion. MGM's DVD release of Desparate Hours offers a good anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with audio in Dolby 2.0 Surround. Trailer, keep-case.

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