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video review out of 4 Movie Review: Kounterfeit.raw

Starring: Corbin Bernsen, Gil Bernardy
Director: John Mallory Asher
Rated: R
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: January 1996
Genre: Action

*Also starring: Hilary Swank, Mark Paul Gosselaar, Bruce Martyn Payne

Review by Dragan Antulov
½ star out of 4

Crime doesn't pay and this is the lesson that was supposed to be learned by the protagonist of KOUNTERFEIT, 1996 thriller directed by John Mallory Asher. Frankie (played by Bruce Payne) is a seasoned criminal who had seen the error of his ways and turned to more legitimate ways of earning money and became strip joint owner. His good but not very bright friend Tommy "Hopscotch" Hopkins (played by Andrew Hawkes) has failed to learn those important life lessons and still dreams of making big money through illegal means. He got himself a large sum of counterfeit dollar bills and wants to sell them for a million US$ in real money. Frankie decides to help his friend in the deal, but the routine exchange turns into bloody shootout. One of the victims is undercover cop and his sister Colleen (played by Hilary Swank) decides to track down his killers and take the justice in her own hands.

Low budget of this film corresponds with the level of ambition displayed by its makers. The plot recycles many obligatory elements of low budget crime movies (vengeance as the prime motive for one of the protagonist, good guys who don't turn out so good at the end) and combines them with Tarantinoesque portrayal of small time criminals as protagonists. Even the less experienced viewers won't have much problem in deciphering the film's ending at least thirty minutes before the closing credits. The only interesting thing about KOUNTERFEIT is casting - Bruce Payne, specialised for the roles of charismatic and over-the-top villains in low budget films, plays somewhat different character here, while future "Oscar" winner Hilary Swank makes very little impact in stereotypical and thankless role. Those curiosities aren't the reasons enough for viewers to subject themselves to 84 minutes of boredom.

Copyright 2003 Dragan Antulov

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