'The Trigger Effect & Body Count' [Double Feature]
(Kyle MacLachlan, Elizabeth Shue, Dermot Mulroney, et al / Blu-ray / R / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: Academy Award nominee Elisabeth Shue stars with Kyle MacLachlan and Dermot Mulroney in 'The Trigger Effect,' an intensely gripping story of a mysterious power failure that leads to the social breakdown of a major city.
All forms of communication are wiped out-no electricity, no cash machines and no telecommunication. Now everything that society has taken for granted no longer works...and ordinary rules no longer apply.
In 'Body Count,' when an art museum heist goes terribly wrong and one of their own ends up dead, professional criminals are forced to head south with the law on their heels every step of the way.
As the chase continues, they meet a seductive con artist who wants in on the action. With so much on the line, they must now decide if anyone can really be trusted.
Blu-ray Verdict: In 'The Trigger Effect' (1996), Matthew and Annie-Kay are a typically white, middle-class family living in the suburbs in a marriage where the passion has died and been replaced with a child and responsibility.
Life is safe, life is familiar and life is secure. However a power failure starts changes and tensions within the city and their community as looting spreads and the police cannot cope.
As the fear reaches them their friend Joe encourages them to take action to either prepare for the worst or try and escape the city before the whole thing collapses.
Opening with a couple of wolves tearing at the corpse of another wolf, this film had the potential to be an interesting and engaging character piece that would force its own audience to ask questions about itself and about its idea of "society" and morality within that idea of society.
It starts reasonably well by setting up a couple of stock figures that we can sort of identify with (the white couple, the black people, the rough men, etc.) and initially does something with them before letting the average plot overtake the characters.
The narrative sees them facing obstacles and dealing with them (or not) in a way that follows a fairly ordinary thriller sort of path. This is so-so but nothing special since it never gets exciting in its own right and still suggests that we should be looking at the characters for our interest instead.
However the inability to really draw out a tapestry of people and reactions (not to mention a convincing picture of suburbia under pressure) is where the film falls down.
The actors are partly to blame even if the material wasn't there for them. MacLachlan starts out well with a typically "start no trouble" white professional but soon forgets being true to his character and just does what the script tells him.
Shue is poor from start to finish and I doubt that she would have done much more even with the material. Mulroney is OK with a basic character but perhaps that was just the fact that he is the "hothead" in the mix that made him more interesting to me when I was just looking for something to happen.
Jones doesn't do much and a cameo from Rooker only made me wish that the film had been following his character instead.
Overall this is an average film that takes an interesting premise but does nothing at all with it. The basic plot seems to forget the character piece that it suggested it would be at the start and the more it does, the less interesting it becomes.
The cast features some familiar faces but none of them can raise the material or make it about their characters and eventually they just get on with driving the plot. So-so but should have been much more interesting than it was.
In 'Body Count' (1998), following his release from prison, Pike (Ving Rhames) teams up with Crane (Forest Whitaker), an old partner in crime, along with Hobbs (David Caruso), Booker (Donnie Wahlberg, Chino (John Leguizamo) to set up an art theft from a museum.
Chino's greed during the heist causes it to go awry resulting in Crane's death and a narrow escape with the stolen items. Only Crane and Pike knew the fence to whom the stolen items were to be fenced for $15m.
The balance of the movie consists of the remaining four partners attempting to transport the items to Miami to the fence, via car, with attempts to take a bus, and a train which don't pan out due to various personality conflicts among the thieves; and results in one partner killing another who winds up in the trunk of the car.
While en route, the now-threesome picks up Natalie (Linda Fiorentino) who adds another point of conflict among the thieves. The heist itself is shown in flashbacks during the trip. There is definitely violence in the movie resulting from the conflicts among the thieves and Natalie.
I found the movie to be engrossing throughout with interest in the interaction between the thieves; edgy, violent, keeps you guessing, a good ending, and good performances by all. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
'The Trigger Effect & Body Count' [Double Feature] [Blu-Ray] is out June 4th, 2019 via Mill Creek Entertainment.