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Review by
Mike Oliveri

Columbia Tri-Star Home Video (direct-to-video release)
Rated: USA: R

My thoughts on this one are as follows: Christopher Lambert (the HIGHLANDER movie series) and Brad Mirman (HIGHLANDER III) put their heads together on a plot for a serial killer with a relgious angle flick. Mirman writes the script, Lambert puts the cash together, and they go out and recruit Lambert's old buddy, Russell Mulcahy (HIGHLANDER I & II, TALE OF THE MUMMY), to direct.

What they end up isn't half-bad considering it's a near-blatant SE7EN knock-off. Lambert's detective John Prudhomme simply replaces Freeman with his cool attitude and sharp detective skills. His partner Andrew Hollinsworth (Lelan Orser: THE BONE COLLECTOR and, strangely enough, SE7EN) is Pitt's character with less bitterness in his humor. Lambert is the married one, and instead of having a child on the way, his was killed in a car accident a year before. During their first encounter with the nameless serial killer, Hollinsworth gets his ass kicked - in the rain, just as Pitt did. Even some of the murder scenes try to rival that of SE7EN, with the dark, moody atmosphere and the grisly crimes.

What's more, the John Doe in this flick is a religious whacko out to deliver a message to the people. Prudhomme even says "He's trying to give us a message," (or in LambertSpeak: "He'th trying to give uth a methage." -Feo) not far off from Freeman's character saying "He's preaching" of the John Doe he pursued. This time, our killer is taking limbs from his victims, presumably to assemble Christ's body. I'll admit Lambert and Mirman put a lot of thought into the killer's motives and the connections between his ultimate goal and all the victims, but it is just too close to SE7EN to warrant any real originality.

The plot moves rather slowly for awhile, as the two detectives discover a new body every Friday and try to put together the message. After a time their captain calls in an FBI agent to review the case (Robert Joy: THE DARK HALF, FALLEN), who provides them with little in the way of answers.

Once Prudhomme finds his killer, the film takes a swing away from SE7EN as they capture him, only to have him released on legal technicalities. It appears they first still have no identity for the man, and no solid evidence to charge him with. He's released on bail by a letter-of-the-law judge and Prudhomme is forced to try and track down the man's real identity before he can skip town. The ending becomes predictable from there, and to be honest, there's little surprise in who the killer is when he's caught the first time.

No great shakes in the direction or the acting, though Orser was likeable in his role. I doubt he'll ever been an Oscar winner, but he was memorable as the man forced to wear the giant leather penis in SE7EN and the character with the alien inside him in ALIEN: RESURRECTION. He had a small role in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN as the pilot of the crashed glider. A cool guy that I wouldn't mind seeing more of. He's yet to land a solid leading role, but he appears to be a great supporting actor.

Look for a cameo by noted director David Cronenberg (RABID, VIDEODROME, THE FLY, DEAD RINGERS, eXistenZ) as the priest that wants to restore Prudhomme's lost faith in God. He also helps out with one of the clues from one of the crimes.

Decent if not original, and not as bad as some of Lambert's recent offerings (like the God-awful FORTRESS). Look for Lambert to continue beating a dead horse next year with HIGHLANDER IV. I give RESURRECTION two shriek girls.

This review copyright 2000 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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