October 16, 1995 -- ``Jade'' looked great in the previews of upcoming attractions, but the actual movie is a disappointment. ``Jade'' is a complex murder mystery starring David Caruso (of ``NYPD Blue'' fame) as assistant district attorney David Corelli. Also starring in the film are Linda Fiorentino (``The Last Seduction''), Chazz Palminteri (``Bullets Over Broadway''), Michael Biehn (``Aliens'') and Richard Crenna.
The film is directed by one of Hollywood's best, William Friedkin (``The French Connection''). Fiorentino and Palminteri are a couple of the best actors around. With all this talent why is this film so mediocre?
I'd like to concentrate on a couple of scenes that may hold the answer to that question. The first occurs about halfway through the film when Lt. Bob Hargrove (Michael Biehn) says something about Corelli's relationship to Trina Gavin that Corelli doesn't like. Corelli (Caruso) starts to react and the scene is suddenly cut in mid-reaction. The other scene is the very last in the movie, which seems to end abruptly.
I am reminded of a John Belushi-like character, Samuri Film Editor. That scene was hacked and the ending of the film appeared to have been hacked as well. Film critic Roger Ebert, who saw an earlier version of the film than I did, said in his televised review over the weekend that the ending of the film was re-edited to clear up some confusion. He saw it a second time with the new ending.
I don't know if the film editor, Augie Hess, is to blame for what appears to be sloppy film editing or if the screenplay by Joe Eszterhas was such a mess that no amount of editing would have helped. The result, whatever the cause, is a dissheveled, incoherent film. There are several soft core-type sex scenes in the film and some gratuitous gore as well. Although the scenes seem sleazy, they don't add that much to the story. This film is not for kids.
All is not lost, however. Palminteri and Fiorentino both do their usual fine acting jobs in this film and there is one great car chase sequence. Friedkin also directed great car chases in the ``French Connection'' and ``To Live and Die in L.A.'' He uses some very rapid camera movements and rapid intercutting during the chase to good effect.
There is also good use of San Francisco locations, although the location of the car chase invites comparison to the classic chase in ``Bullitt.''
I have now seen a few films featuring David Caruso (``Kiss of Death'' was forgettable. He was at least interesting in ``Mad Dog and Glory'') and I'm beginning to wonder if this guy really has what it takes to be a star. At the very least, he seems to lack confidence.
Despite all the high powered talent that went into this film it ends up being mired in murky mediocrity. It rates a C.
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