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MOVIE REVIEW : No-Brainer Runs Out of Gas in 'Chase'

March 04, 1994|PETER RAINER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"The Chase" (citywide) is a no-brainer with the emphasis on the no . Charlie Sheen plays a wrongfully convicted bank robber running away from prison who inadvertently kidnaps an heiress (Kristy Swanson) and spends most of the movie speeding away from the police in her bright-red BMW.

Will a movie about a high-speed L.A. freeway chase satisfy an audience's fantasies for flight at a time when the freeways are cracked? Inquiring minds want to know.

The writer-director Adam Rifkin attempts to work some deep-think about tabloid media manipulation into this rollicking piece of movie road kill, but the film seems to be part of what it is attacking. It would take a more--uh--sophisticated touch to make the car flips and flame-outs in this film seem as hilarious as they are meant to be. Maybe Robert Altman, in his media-circus "Nashville" mode, could have done it. On the other hand, he would not have wanted to.

Sheen and Swanson go in for a lot of high-octane mugging but Josh Mostel, as one of the cops in pursuit, is fun, and there's a good bit involving cadavers.

That figures.

'The Chase'

Charlie Sheen: Jack Hammond

Kristy Swanson: Natalie Voss

Henry Rollins: Officer Dobbs

Josh Mostel: Officer Figus

A Capitol Films presentation of an Elwes/Wyman Production of an Adam Rifkin film, released by Twentieth Century Fox. Director Adam Rifkin. Producer Brad Wyman, Cassian Elwes. Executive producer Eduard Sarlui. Screenplay by Adam Rifkin. Cinematographer Alan Jones. Editor Peter Schink. Costumes Yvette Corea. Music Richard Gibbs. Production design Sherman Williams. Art director Jack Cloud. Set decorator Craig Loper. Sound Soundbusters, Sound Dogs. Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes.

MPAA-rating: PG-13, for violence, scenes of sensuality and some language. Times guidelines: It includes scenes of auto wrecks, high-speed chases, sex while driving, gunplay.

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