Saturday, May 8, 2021

Movie Reviews: Night Vision

Night Vision
directed by Gil Bettman
The older movie Night Vision starred former NFL player and blaxploitation leading man Fred Williamson and noted martial arts performer Cynthia Rothrock. The idea wasn't that bad, if completely unoriginal. A burned out older cop with personal issues who is about to be fired is paired up with a younger female cop with a patchy history. 
Together the unlikely duo must confront an insane evil mastermind who has a personal grudge against the older cop. Eventually the two cops find that despite their differences they might actually (ahem) "like" each other. 
So we've seen this story before. Unfortunately Night Vision was poorly acted, poorly shot, had bad music, bad writing, bad lighting, and most unforgivably, bad action sequences. This is a bad movie. Horrible. Pointless. 
Although Night Vision was released in 1998 the soundtrack is an inept knockoff/parody of the 1980s Jan Hammer/Tangerine Dream style of synth pop used in the TV series Miami Vice
Dakota Smith (Williamson) is a divorced former detective who has been demoted to motorcycle patrol in part because he's an alcoholic but also because (1) he tends to shoot first and ask questions later and (2) doesn't mind telling his bosses to go f*** themselves. 
Smith's authority problems have caused his career to flatline in an authoritarian institution like a police department. Who knew? It doesn't help Smith's attitude that two of his former partners are higher in rank than he is. 
Smith's divorce, drinking, and tax issues have left him so impoverished that he lives in a flophouse. When Smith gets a tip that the serial killer known as the Video Stalker (Robert Prentiss) has kidnapped another woman, Smith chases down the Stalker's van but only manages to kill the kidnap victim during a shootout.
The Video Stalker kidnaps more women in revenge. The Video Stalker decides to ruin Smith's life, not that Smith has too much further to fall. Meanwhile Smith, who prefers to work alone, must partner with Kristin O'Connor (Cynthia Rockrock), a younger cop also struggling with anger management issues. 
Smith defends O'Connor from sexist verbal abuse from other cops. Smith decides he likes O'Connor after O'Connor gives a bully a karate kick to the face. The dynamic duo searches for the Video Stalker, usually arriving on the scene just after the Video Stalker has murdered another busty victim. 
Did I mention this was a bad movie? The budget was apparently so low that the director couldn't be bothered to hire stunt doubles who were the same race as Williamson or ensure that special effects operators were not caught on camera. In gunfights, the good guys never need to reload when they are using six shot revolvers while the bad guys use semi-automatics or automatics and run out of ammo at critical junctions. Okay.
There is a fair amount of gratuitous toplessness. Normally I wouldn't mind or mention that but it's pretty obvious that the director and/or writers and producers knew that this film needed something to distract from the fact that it was crap.
The fights were really slow and dull. Given that Rothrock made her name as an performer in Hong Kong Kung-fu movies, she should have had more to do. Williamson has his trademark smirk, mustache, and cigars but nothing else. This movie might have been more interesting had it just been about a middle aged man's struggle with alcoholism. Robert Forster and Bushwick Bill also appear. Again, even by the standards of late night Cinemax or Saturday afternoon movies, this was not something to watch.
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