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Laramie Movie Scope:
Most Wanted

A standard revenge-action movie with one difference

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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October 12, 1997 -- "Most Wanted" is a standard Hollywood revenge-action movie with one difference. The star of the movie is not a white man, he's black.

A similar movie, starring Clint Eastwood came out last year. It was called "Absolute Power." Like that film, this one is about a government coverup and a bunch of renegade feds out to kill everyone that knows the truth. Most films of this ilk have white stars, and almost all are males. The ones starring black people seldom are shown in Laramie. This is an exception.

In this case, the protagonist is U.S. Marine Sgt. James Dunn, a sniper who is being set up as the murderer of the wife of the President of the United States. Dunn is played resolutely by Keenen Ivory Wayans ("The Glimmer Man," not to be confused with his brother, Damon, who starred in "Bulletproof" and numerous other films).

Dunn is able to escape a series of traps and set-ups by using his wits. He finds the one other person who knows the truth, Dr. Victoria Constantini (Jillian Hennessy), who just happens to have caught the real killers on videotape.

Together, Dun and Constantini set out to prove Dunn's innocence and find the real killers using the Internet and various other sly tricks. Well, you can see where this is going. Keenan and Hennessy make a fairly convincing misfit pair of fugitives, and Jon Voight ("Midnight Cowboy") has lots of fun as the overacting evil general. Robert Culp is good as the sleazy drug manufacturer. Paul Sorvino ("Romeo and Juliet") is effective as the deputy director of the CIA who is one step ahead of everybody in the game.

The photography in the film was dark and unrevealing most of the time, which detracted from some of the action sequences. It is bad enough that most of the action takes place at night, or in poorly lit places, without the filmmakers making a better attempt to adequately illuminate the scenes.

The plot was fairly predictable as well. Without giving anything away, when the big scene at the end, there was no suspense to it, because the setup was so obvious. Sometimes, that's not a problem if the rest of the story is strong enough. It wasn't in this case.

The whole notion of renegade government hit squads blowing up buildings and shooting people with impunity doesn't wash. The "cover story" issued at the end of the film was so full of holes it wouldn't have lasted five minutes in the real world.

This sort of stuff only makes sense an alternate universe such as the one the "X-Files" operates in. In such a universe, the government is all-knowing, and has numerous agents who can flawlessly cover up any trail. We all know the government is not that competent. Most of them couldn't cover their tracks even if they had the aid of a large herd of buffalo. Witness the White House video tape fiasco. I rest my case. The film rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1997 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)