Felony
New Line // R // $19.98 // October 18, 2005
Review by Scott Weinberg | posted November 26, 2005
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The Movie

Forget that this mid-90s cable flick snoozer is comprised of only the most stock and standard cop movie cliches ever conceived. Ignore that fact that it's directed in drab and listless fashion, shot in a dry, flat manner, and written with all the creativity of a 4th grade Thanksgiving pageant.

You can look past all that stuff ... because look at this cast! It's like B-movie geek heaven in here: Jeffrey Combs as a TV reporter on the run, Leo Rossi as (you guessed it) a cop, David Warner as (yup) an evil henchman, Joe Don Baker as a (surprise!) chunky spy guy, Charles Napier as (another) cop, Lance Henriksen as (yet) another bad guy, and Ashley Laurence as a nurse in distress!

Felony is like the Ocean's Eleven of the direct-to-video shelf! Any three of these actors would be enough to get a movie geek's rental card moving, and yet they're all assembled together for David Prior's Felony, a movie that could only be more predictable if you yourself wrote it.

Basically, Combs is a Cops-style TV reporter, and he and his camera witness a cop massacre that has the city in an uproar. Plot-wise, that's pretty much it. Combs spends the next 80-some minutes running from cops, federal agents, scummy bad guys, and one silly nurse who really oughtta know better. (Especially considering the cinematic history shared between Mr. Combs and Ms. Laurence.)

Felony would make for a cable flick-riffic time were it not for Mr. Prior's deathly screenwriting skills and his tripod-esque talents behind the camera. Much of the flick looks and sounds as if it were filmed in an abanoned warehouse, and Mr. Prior seems to have no real gift for narrative flow and/or editorial aptitude. Such a generic story could certainly make for a good time of the b-movie variety, but the flick is paced and plotted with a leaden step, and you'll be way ahead of the plot turns long before the clueless characters are.

The DVD

Video: It's an anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) affair, and it looks pretty OK for a cheeseball B-movie you've never heard of. And will probably never see.

Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0, or DTS, all in English. Optional subtitles are available in English and Spanish.

Extras: Just a few New Line trailers for Excessive Force, The Corruptor, and After the Sunset.

Final Thoughts

Worthy of a rental just so you can see Lance Henriksen and Joe Don Baker onscreen at the same time, plus any movie that gives Chuck Napier more than seven lines of dialogue is doing something right. Ultimately, Felony falls on the very low-end of the cable-flick scale. The cast brings some color to the proceedings, but their efforts are perpetually thwarted by their director's lack of creativity. (Some would say lack of skill, but Prior's banged out three dozen flicks by now, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.)



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