The last adult action flick from Mr Murphy before he plunged into the 'children's TV' period of his dwindling career, its not a stunning action film but its certainly a pretty good attempt and much better than 'Beverly Hills Cop 2/3'. The thing that hits you first about this film is it looks sharp, the opening credits are damn nice and Murphy looks his coolest since 'Beverly Hills', its a slow builder for sure but with Wincott as the baddie with his raspy devilish voice it keeps you glued to the screen.
Another good impression maker is the excellent action stunts, most noteably a great car and tram chase with multiple wrecks which all look realistic, some good tense stand offs and none of it being watered down, a good step for Murphy although at times he doesn't quite nail the gritty realistic acting thing.
Murphy gives an excellent performance but this movie is simply just a rental. This is the type of movie i put on while I'm tired, because i know I'll go to sleep faster...
Then there's the director, Thomas Carter, who won Several primetime Emmy's for drama series. And he directed the masterpiece 'Coach Carter'. No, that one is not about himself. I'll have more to say about him later.
The star of the movie is Eddie Murphy who plays Roper, a hostage negotiator with the San Francisco PD. Is Eddie any good here? Well, yes. He is as good as it gets in this setting. If the script wasn't so generic and the general production moved up a notch, maybe the whole movie could have walked that fine line between comedy and drama.
Michael Wincott is the villain. He disappoints as Korda, mainly because his characted is so generic. He hardly gets to add any personality to his role. His lines and surroundings are so cliche, that the whole thing never really fleshes out. And I refuse to write that down to bad acting on his part.
So here you have two more than capable actors stuck in a story that is both predictable (no matter how many times our lovely director tries to trick us, be it with faux horror sound effects or plot holes) and ill-executed.
It all starts off fine, setting up location and the Roper character. Even though this movie depicts a very clean version of downtown San Francisco, the start is quite okay.
But as the film progresses and several story lines about Roper, his (former) partners, his (ex) girlfriend and up-and-coming nemesis Korda get fleshed out, the story falls apart. There are plot holes that will leave you stare at the screen with your mouth open for a few seconds. There are cringeworthy performances by extra's in the robbery/hostage scenes. There are outcomes so predictable that it kills all the suspense. And then, almost at the end of the movie, there are silly and ridiculous attempts at suspense that make you LOL.
All in all, for a 1997 action/drama/comedy, it kind of delivers in the action department, even though the chase scenes are mostly memorable for being in San Francisco. The drama is underwhelming and the comedy doesn't balance well here. Meh.
Pros: Eddie Murphy does an OK job
Cons: Generic, predictable, etc.
Verdict: Watch if there's really nothing else on.