Heaven's Prisoners (1996)
What is it about Alec Baldwin avoiding franchises? He could have so easily continued playing Jack Ryan after the "Hunt for Red October" or he could have continued playing Lamont Cranston, AKA "The Shadow" and then there's Dave Robicheaux in James Lee Burke's "Heaven's Prisoners". Burke is a prolific writer that has over 20 Dave Roicheaux mysteries. If this movie had been any good, we may have seen more of his books come to the silver screen. Alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Heaven's Prisoners is the second in the series of novels. Dave is a recovering alcoholic, and former Homicide detective from New Orleans. Now he runs a bate shop in New Iberia, Louisiana. He and his Wife, Annie (Kelly Lynch) were fishing when a plane crashes in the bayou. Dave dives in and is able to rescue only a little girl. Thinking that she's only an illegal alien, Dave and Annie secretly adopt her.
It turns out that the plane was doing more than sneaking in illegals, but was involved in a big drug smuggling operation too. This brings in a DEA agent and various dangerous gangsters including one of Dave's old highschool friends, Bubba Rocque (Eric Roberts). His hot, sexy Wife, Claudette (Teri Hatcher) is more than a handful too.
Of course a lot of people will watch this movie just to see Teri Hatcher's full frontal nude scene. Yes, she looks pretty spectacular, but it's very quick and she's done better nude scenes in "The Cool Surface", so if this is your only reason for renting this movie, don't bother. This movie doesn't have very much action, (there's some gun battles, car chases, and a hot pursuit on the tin roofs of the New Orleans slums), but what it misses in action, it more than makes up for in atmosphere (as the book does).
I'm a big fan of Alec Baldwin, especially back when he was young, thin, and handsome. But even with the great cast and the fantastic author, this movie doesn't really hit the mark, somehow. The James Lee Burke books are fantastic too, and really show us a South that fits a film noir detective movie, but somehow this just didn't work here and came off as clichéd. A common opinion has been that we've seen all of this before, but by much better movies.
I've always had this thing against New York actors and actresses doing southern parts, too. They go over-the-top with the slow, syrupy southern drawls and sort of make the whole movie a cliché, and it really shows in "Heavens Prisoners". Well New Orleans might be a bit different case, as those Cajuns sort of have a Northeastern twang to their speech. It must be that Quebecer heritage of theirs.
If you're a James Lee Burke fan, or Alec Baldwin fan, you might enjoy this movie, as I did, otherwise, you might be kind of disappointed.