88 Minutes


88 Minutes

Critics Consensus

88 Minutes is a shockingly inept psychological thriller that expertly squanders the talent at hand.



Total Count: 122


Audience Score

User Ratings: 103,904
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Movie Info

Jon Avnet directs Al Pacino in the thriller 88 Minutes. Pacino plays university professor Jack Gramm, who occasionally assists the FBI in matters of forensic psychiatry. His recent testimony against a freshly convicted criminal seems to be the reason he has gotten a scary phone call informing him he will die in 88 minutes. As with the like-minded thriller D.O.A. (both the original and the remake), the protagonist must use his skills in order to track down who has hatched this evil plot and hopefully prevent his own demise. Alicia Witt and Leelee Sobieski co-star as the professor's star students.

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Critic Reviews for 88 Minutes

All Critics (122) | Top Critics (35)

  • Interestingly, the more overblown and insincere a performance Pacino delivers in a film, the more self-important and bouffant his hair gets. Here, it's so towering it takes up 90 per cent of the screen.

    Oct 3, 2008 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Now that this stupendously inept serial-killer flick has slithered into theaters, the diminutive legend had better clear room in his closet for another cinematic skeleton.

    Oct 3, 2008 | Rating: 0/6

    David Fear

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • If you like your women half-naked, strung upside-down from pulleys, and sliced like deli meat, this is the movie for you. Whether the victims are more tortured than the plot is a serious question.

    Apr 25, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Nothing would give me keener pleasure than to reveal the identity of the killer, but a day after seeing the film I have genuinely forgotten.

    Apr 21, 2008 | Full Review…
  • It's quite possibly the worst movie of 2008 so far.

    Apr 21, 2008
  • The galumphing serial-killer picture 88 Minutes is dumb enough to be straight out of the parodies in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

    Apr 21, 2008

Audience Reviews for 88 Minutes

  • Jul 09, 2012
    So, what, this is supposed to be a spin-off prequel to "Kill Bill" that deals with that organization of killer samurai, the Crazy 88? Oh wait, this is just some movie with Al Pacino, though I'm sure you can see how I would get confused and think that this film is about the Crazy 88, because 88 is the key number here, and Al Pacino is, as Dan Aykroyd and Steve Martin would put it, "one wild and crazy guy!" Oh yeah, and another reason why I got confused is because where the Crazy 88 met fates (Ha-ha, slant rhyme) that were stupid[u]ly[/u] violent, this film is stupid [u]and[/u] violent, and even, they don't show you the violence, so you don't even get satisfying gore, yet you can still expect plenty of stupidity. Well, I suppose that's what happens when the best thing that you're "writer" (I know, I can't believe there's a writer either) has done is "The Fast and the Furious", and even then, he was just one of three writers (I know, I also figured one would be too many). Well, that didn't keep things from going to Gary Scott Thompson's head, because he's built his career around "The Fast and the Furious", and by that, I mean that it seems to be his thing to make film critics leave the theater fast and furious. Well, if other Gary Thompson-"written" films are more like this and if I was willing to waste my money to go see films like this in the theater, then I myself would just walk out of the theater chuckling, because it's just so not good, yet there in lays the charm... and it is not enough. The flaws of the film are much too common and much too intense to be transcended, and the final product is a disaster, which isn't to say that there aren't some elements other than the charm of incompetence that try to battle back the ineptitude, to no avail. The thing about this "thriller" is that it is relentlessly manipulative in fashions that range from commendably well-intentioned to downright laughable, yet the thing about a film that tries this hard is that, after a while, some effectiveness tends to bleed through. Well, sure enough, through all of the relentlessness of the manipulation, you can find a couple of brief points of genuine engagement value and intrigue that does sustain your attention, something that can be said about the film's non-slowness. The film isn't especially fast-pace, though it is careful to dismiss as much dullness as it can, to where it does have its occasional entertaining moment, made all the stronger by two key charming factors. Now, this is Al Pacino we're talking about, and while he hasn't made the best career decisions in recent years, he still goes way back as quite possibly one of the great classic actors of his era, and to this day, his chops stand intact, though underused in this film, which goes surprisingly all but devoid of material for Pacino to play up, and this is a thriller about his life and the life of his friends and loved ones being threatened. Still, Pacino keeps you going nevertheless, not just with occasions in which he really is given material to play up fairly well, but with his good old fashion charisma, yet doesn't do so alone, because whether it be the amusement value of its incompetence or its being so ambitious, there is an essence of innocent charm to this film that gives the final product the occasional moment of, at best, passable mediocrity. However, weighing in the difference, the bad isn't simply more prevalent than the mediocrity, but grows more and more intense with the progression of the film, from its humiliating rap-riddled opening to its crowbarred twist and subsequent corny ending. Between those two points isn't 88 minutes, but a little over 100 minutes of bull, and 88 minutes would have been too long to go through all of that. The film's concept holds the potential of being executed in a fashion that is either as, if not more unique than it sounds, or with such startling genericism that it's unreal, and kids, you better believe that this film had the nerve to go the latter route, boasting everything from a decent but still very cheap stock score (Well, at least it's better than the rap soundtrack; Oh man, I hate music after the '80s, if you want to call rap music) to wildly conventional plot points that go manipulated by director Jon Avnet to intensify the profound lack of subtlty in an attempt to drive this film more on manipulative stingers, and with almost all of the thrills dying on their feet and no subtlty to compensate, the film falls limp, made unengaging by its genericisms, alone. Well, that and the horrible dialogue that I wouldn't even say is made worse by the acting, because much of the acting is so far beneath the level of quality as the dialogue that it almost makes the dialogue look good by comparison. With the obvious exception of Pacino, an actually pretty good Neal McDonough and a couple of other passables, the acting is awful, and not even that kind of wooden or overdone bad acting that could slip under the director's and editor's radar, we're talking almost all-out amateur web series by a teenager bad acting. If you're one of those annoyingly sensitive people who think that you can't make a torture scene funny, let alone hilarious, then you clearly need to see a scene early on in this film in which Pacino's Jack Gramm character and some agents look over a torture tape that caps off with pain acting from Kristina Copeland that Syfy probably wouldn't let get past the editing room, yet it doesn't end with Copeland (Her career, however, seems to have ended with this film though, because I don't see her anywhere else, and thank goodness for that), as there are some main (She may have gotten real pretty, but from what I'm getting from this film, Alicia Witt's acting hasn't gotten much better since she was that little girl in "Dune"), many secondary, even a few tertiary performances that are so startlingly uninspired, with cheesiness in the line delivery, no emotion in the expressiveness and a total absence of acting presence. The acting - such as it is - and genericisms land near-fatal blows to the effectiveness of the film in the hands of such incompetent directing, with the death blow being found in most every other spotty area of Gary Scott Thompson's screenplay. Nevermind the genericisms and bad dialogue, the film is simply far-fetched, with loose logic, limp stingers and an all around uninspired structure, with melodrama, unbuyable characters and even less buyable scenarios tainting the substance of this film conceptually built around urgency that's just not there. The story rings false, and with Jon Avent's execution of the story being just as inept as the screenplay that structures the story, the end result is a heavily flawed, cold and dismissable non-thriller that goes too problematic to be saved by what charm and effectiveness it does have, thus making for an experience that will waste more than just 88 minutes of your time. When time runs out, you're left mildly charmed by the film's ambition and the sometimes strong, when not charismatic Al Pacino, as well as even hit by some scarce moments in which manipulation breaks as somewhat effective, yet that's not nearly enough for the film to transcend past its manipulative extreme genericisms and shoddy, far-fetched and altogether uninspired writing, made all the worse by a slew of mostly absysmal performances and cold, laughably incompetent direction by Jon Avnet, who helps in making "88 Minutes" an ultimately limp, thoroughly unrewarding and, as put best by the consensus, "shockingly inept psychological thriller" that's just not thrilling. 1.5/5 - Bad
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Jul 02, 2012
    In the world of cinema, there are two kinds of bad: so bad that it's good and so bad that it's just plain bad. Of the two, "88 Minutes" belongs in the former category. Here is a film so lazily written and so poorly handled that it often succeeds as a good unintentional comedy. There are moments so ludicrous and nonsensical that you can't help but laugh at the sheer insanity of them, and every scene that's meant to thrill is totally free of suspense. Now, when it comes down to who is responsible, director Jon Avnet takes most of the blame. Either he doesn't know what he's doing or he does but just isn't very good at it. The film's only saving grace is Al Pacino, who is so unrelentingly funny with his completely uncharismatic performance that I laughed almost every time he spoke. He stumbles across dead bodies and chases after bad guys as if he's stuck in some kind of trance, looking bored and mumbling through his lines with zero gusto.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Jul 19, 2011
    Al Pacino can't save the film from being barely television worthy. The acting of everyone else is elementary at best and the dialogue is laughable. The whole movie is an overly complicated mess.
    Chris B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 29, 2011
    terrible film and just so poorly acted and directed. goddam this is just so horrible, what were you thinking Al Pacino?
    Brendan N Super Reviewer

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