Jeffrey's Review of Unlawful Entry
Dated in some ways (it has only become more formulaic with the passage of time), but still a serviceable thriller, Unlawful Entry is a paranoid movie that justifies paranoia.
Russell is convincing as the 'every man' having to deal with the always enjoyable and underrated Ray Liotta, as a crazed and envious cop. It is their interactions that really make the film watchable, and helps sell the more absurd elements of the narrative.
The direction also does a good job of keeping the film tensely paced, with scene construction that builds up the suspense well. The script is adequate from the standpoint that, while we know where the script is headed, it manages to keep enough surprises in store that we stay engaged. At the same time, the overall set-up strains believably--how can Madeleine Stowe's character possibly be so dumb and naive? How could others in the department not notice the unhinged and impulsive Officer Davis (Liotta)? There are simply too many holes and logical leaps to make Unlawful Entry anything more than a B level-thriller. But taken on those terms, it's enjoyable enough, successfully playing on some of our worst fears (wrongful arrest, the system out to get us), and doing so in a generally effective way.