New Line // 1996 // 93 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 3rd, 2005
Witness the ultimate double cross.
Have you ever heard of this movie? Me neither.
Felony opens with a crack SWAT team preparing to raid the mansion of a drug-dealing bigwig. Accompanying these cops is a couple of filmmakers, hoping to document the assault for a reality series.
But when the attack goes horribly wrong, and a slew of cops are dead thanks to a sneak attack from the criminal thugs, the filmmakers run for their lives. Bill Knight (Jeffrey Combs), is the camera operator, and, luckily, had the wherewithal to keep the video rolling.
Unfortunately, he's now a wanted man, hunted by the most powerful crime boss in town, Taft (Lance Henriksen, Aliens vs. Predator), who's after the incriminating videotape.
As Knight negotiates the twists and turns of his new life-on-the-run, he connects with a beautiful and mysterious woman (Ashley Laurence) and an equally mysterious loud-mouth Texan (Joe Don Baker) who may or not be a clandestine government operative: but who's a friend and who's a foe?
With the cops unable to protect him, Knight is on his own, unsure of whom to trust, and narrowly escaping death at every corner.
Another day, another obscure, crappy action movie.
Felony is a swift-moving, marginally entertaining little film that boasts a handful of effective twists and turns, but that's where the accolades end. And with a caveat: that "entertaining" part comes mainly from the many ridiculous moments found within.
The typical demolition-of-disbelief action flick elements are in full effect -- cars exploding for no reason, human beings recovering perfectly from stunts that should have been fatal, etc. -- but Felony deserves an honorable mention for on-screen stupidity.
Some of my favorite moments:
The opening massacre.
Where do these SWAT guys get trained anyway? When the intrepid assault crew realizes that they've been royally snookered in the kingpin's house, their disappointment evidently completely overcomes their training. A couple of the bad guys open fire and mow down everyone, and, laughably, the scenes where the cops get wasted find them standing still, guns at their side, looking dumbly as the bullets approach. Then again, I suppose it is a nice change of pace for the good guys to act like retarded idiots as opposed to the bad guys.
Physics-defying car crashes.
Admittedly, over-the-top car crashes aren't anything new in these movies, but there's this one scene which defies all attempts to rationalize it away. During the film's most over-heated action sequence, a car chase where our hero is being pursued by some unsavory elements of the criminal underworld, one of the guys behind the wheel gets shot, the next scene shows his car rolling along at thirty miles an hour tops, then cut, then the car rear-ends another car, cut, and ZOOM, that thing takes off like it was launched from a nuclear-powered potato cannon.
Oblivious crime lords.
Lance Henriksen is cool and all, but his big crime boss character in this movie is about as sharp-witted as a sesame bagel. Without getting into specifics (because I'm sure all five of you reading this wish to avoid spoilers), this supposed be-all and end-all of citywide corruption plows headfirst into the most obvious trap ever. He gets his just desserts, but the dude goes out like a punk.
There you go, an overall dopey action film sporting several inadvertently funny moments to dull the monotony.
New Line has given this release some stones, despite a lack of extras. The film gets a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that is, for the most part, sound, despite a few visual hiccups. Two fairly passive 5.1 mixes push the sound, DTS and Dolby Digital, but points for trying.
Felony is a forgettable little action film. The pace is quick, there are some halfway-snazzy twists, but that's it. Look into it only if you enjoy nitpicking dumb action film gaffes.
Felony is found guilty of felonious sucking.
Review content copyright © 2005 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: New Line
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* DTS 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 1996
MPAA Rating: Rated R