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movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Fled

Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Stephen Baldwin
Director: Kevin Hooks
Rated: R
RunTime: 98 Minutes
Release Date: July 1996
Genres: Action, Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Will Patton, Robert John Burke, Robert Hooks, Salma Hayek, Victor Rivers, Michael Nader, Brittney Powell, Ken Jenkins

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

Director Kevin Hooks's FLED is a fast action movie that appears to be about two convicts on the lam, but is actually a highly contrived and ridiculous conspiracy on top of conspiracy plot. This is one of the those movies that requires you to check your brain in the lobby. Don't even try to count the implausibilities in Preston Whitmore's script.

What saves the film is two fine pieces of acting by its stars, Laurence Fishburne as Piper and Stephen Baldwin as Luke Dodge plus the excellent performance by Wil Patton as the southern good old boy and smartest cop of all Matthew Gibson. FLED is needlessly violent as well, but all of this notwithstanding, I liked the show as did the audience. A fast paced bit of entertainment that will make you laugh, sometimes when you are not supposed to, and will pump up your adrenaline.

As the show starts, a witness who is to testify against Frank Mantajano, the head of the Cuban Mafia, is killed thus causing the Senate investigating committee to be without its star witness. The show quickly shifts to a chain gang in Georgia where new convict Dodge and old hand Piper escape while chained to each other's wrists. Soon U. S. Marshall Schiller appears out of nowhere and kills another escapee with his hands up trying to surrender. It seems there are big conspiracies brewing, and Schiller, among others, is involved. Officer Gibson is the only one that can see the obvious so he follows the "good" guys and the bad.

The reason for all of the chasing is that Dodge hacked into the computer of Brigantine International. This is okay because he determined that the company was greedy. Moreover he stole $25,000,000 and gave $20,000,000 of it to charity. He explains all of this to Piper and tells him, "On the Internet my code name is CyberThug."

The show is quite funny. One small thing that is fun is that when they get in a jam, one will say to the other, "didn't you see" and then name some movie title as if all knowledge is found in some movie. Among movies so referenced were: THE GODFATHER, DELIVERANCE, THE FUGITIVE, and SHAFT.

My favorite character is the wise but unassuming Officer Gibson, whose accent is so thick you could cut it with a knife. He reminded me a lot of the pregnant lead detective in FARGO. Gibson advises Schiller, "I think you are just spitting in the wind, and you know what they say about spitting in the wind. It may blow back in your face."

The chemistry between the two leads is quite good. I think Laurence Fishburne is a great talent, and it showed here. Without him, I don't think they would of had a show, but they do have him and so for me it worked.

Which scene did the audience like the least? Baldwin's love making scene! It is so overdone and with such cliches, i.e., done in front of a roaring fire, that they were laughing at it, and it is not supposed to be funny. When the Piper and his girlfriend, Cora, well played by Salma Hayek, have an erotic bread kneading scene, it works much better.

Let me not dwell on this implausibility thing, and rather than get into the intricate conspiracy maze, let me give two small examples. If you were being chased by people with big guns and helicopters while you were chained to a large man who was running with you, would you keep trying to knock him out and thereby run the risk of having to run while dragging him? Also, why is all the key data stored one little floppy and without any duplicate? I could go on, but I will not. I was able to put my brain in neutral so perhaps you will be able to as well, and this stuff not bother you.

FLED runs a little over an hour and a half. It will certainly be an R for sex, nudity, and most of all gory violence of the type where many people die with large bullet holes and blood spurting everywhere. It would be probably be okay for teenagers if they are mature. I hated the story, but I had a good time, laughed some, and liked the acting, except for pathetic overacting by Schiller and the whole Cuban Mafia crowd, so I am giving it a thumbs up and rating it ** 1/2.

Copyright 1996 Steve Rhodes

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