This time around, to ensure “veritas” and “aequitas” not as a Boondock Saint vigilante but as an officer upholding Albuquerque, New Mexico law, Sean Patrick Flannery portrays an honest cop who finds himself placed in an impossible situation near the start of this flawed yet surprisingly taut thriller.
Forced into a classic cop vs. maniac style standoff, Flannery finds he must weigh the aequitas heavier this time around, when he must choose within the opening ten minutes between one life and several. The horrific beginning turns a standard situation we've seen far too often in cop movies wiggle its way out of technicalities or a sudden deus ex machina to throw the villain off course.
And following the impossibly devastating introduction, Flannery's Tom Armstrong retreats to Mexico City for nearly a decade before an F.B.I. agent tracks him down and lets him know that the mad bomber (Joe Pantoliano) who ruined his life is back on his old stomping ground.
Eager to get revenge against the man known only as “The Lion,” who -- thanks to special effects maestro Robert Kurtzman can change his appearance from one moment to the next -- Tom switches from Spanish to English and heads back to the American side of the border. Soon he begins working with the F.B.I. task force to take down the villain who has announced he's holding the entire city hostage unless he's paid an outrageous sum.
Proving his intent with a series of deadly explosions, Tom races against the clock with his old partner and a beautiful F.B.I. agent (easily the least convincing actor in the entire film) to save as many lives as possible.
As a straight to disc feature, you do have to get past some irritating gaps in logic and the tendency of the film's characters to speak completely in exposition, revealing everything about any given situation without being asked.
And when this is coupled with a few genuinely weak actors in lead roles such as our leading lady who seems like she's reading lines she just learned off a teleprompter with zero emotion that's made all the more laughable when she's opposite the emotional Flannery, Deadly Impact challenges you even more to suspend your disbelief.
Yet through it all and thanks largely to the breakneck pace and the consummate performances by Pantoliano and Flannery, the movie manages to keep you involved enough to recommend as a slight step down on the ladder from Fox's similar thriller 12 Rounds.
An obvious B movie but with enough surprises in store like the brilliant opening action sequence that fights cliches and a tense showdown near the end that manages to make your pulse race despite some inconsistencies in supporting character behavior, Deadly Impact which races onto an impressively transferred DVD sans bonus features is ultimately worth a look for the explosions in store in terms of plot and lead performances.
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FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review screener of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.