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movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Shiner

Starring: Michael Caine, Martin Landau
Director: John Irvin
Rated: R
RunTime: 99 Minutes
Release Date: May 2000
Genres: Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Josephine Butler, Malcolm Tierney, Frances Barber, Frank Harper, Andy Serkis, Claire Rushbrook, Danny Webb, Matthew Marsden

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

SHINER, a very violent comedy as the British like to make them, was released theatrically in the rest of the world last year but is coming out this month on DVD and videotape to American video stores. Michael Caine, who manages to turn in interesting performances even in mediocre movies such as SHINER, plays Billy 'Shiner' Simpson, a take-no-prisoners boxing promoter. Close to his financial Armageddon, Billy has bet everything he has that his fighter and son, Eddie (Matthew Marsden), will defeat an American challenger, Mikey (Derrick Harmon), sponsored by Frank Spedding (Martin Landau).

The surprise of the plot is that the big match occurs in the middle of the picture rather than at the end. For all its violence, the movie is remarkably dull with only Caine making much of an impression. My favorite scene has Billy bragging to the police, "I've been on the cover of magazines." To prove it, he holds up a magazine with his mug on the front. The periodical's name? In big bold letters on its cover it says succinctly, "Magazine."

The only aspect of the film worth commenting on, other than Caine's acting, is Paul Grabowsky's compelling and evocative music. Neither, however, is enough to recommend the picture.

SHINER runs a long 1:40. It is rated R for "strong violence, pervasive language and some nudity" and would be acceptable for most teenagers.

My son Jeffrey, age 13, gave the movie just one half of a star, complaining that the movie didn't give him any feeling about any of the characters.

The movie is available now on DVD and videotape.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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