Protection is a smart and taut little thriller featuring a tough, smoldering performance from Baldwin (8 Seconds, Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas) as Sal Vincent, a former mobster now hiding out under the witness protection plan. Peter Gallagher (While You Were Sleeping, Mr. Deeds, How To Deal) is terrific as Ted, the realtor next door who befriends and then goes into business with Sal never realizing how much danger he?s placed himself in. The story moves a bit slowly at first as the script sets things up, but the action late in the film builds to a suspenseful climax as Sal?s past begins to catch up with him.
Directed by John Flynn (Best Seller, Out For Justice, Lock Up), the film has a low budget look and feel to it, but that?s part of the charm. The actors are unhindered by box office expectations and the performances are natural, focused, and free of the pretense that is so typical of big budget films. All of the principle actors have a nice chemistry together and the characters, for the most part, are fleshed out and fully realized. Overall, the acting is far better than the usual b-list fare with fine supporting performances from Katie Griffin as Sal?s wife and Aron Tager as the local crime boss Lujak.
Stephen may not be enjoying the mainstream Hollywood success of his older sibling but he?s establishing himself as a pretty good low rent talent. Besides, it could be worse ? when?s the last time anyone saw a BILLY Baldwin flick?