YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

MOVIE REVIEW : Explosions, Confusion the Bill of Fare in 'Game'


Imagine Cindy Crawford as a civil attorney who specializes in defending the downtrodden. Imagine William Baldwin as a Miami cop so tough he shrugs off beatings that would disable an ox. Imagine enough mayhem and explosions to keep 41 stunt players busy. But don't imagine there is any reason to see "Fair Game."

Even the recruited audience, without whose presence the filmmakers felt unsafe exposing their work to critics, seemed a little dumbstruck at how feeble a piece of business this is. By the time the much-anticipated Crawford-Baldwin love scene unspooled, it generated more giggles than gasps.

This is not a knock on the attractive leads, who gamely slog their way through a variety of grimy situations only to be overmatched by a desultory script by Charlie Fletcher and inept direction by Andrew Sipes, first-timers both and not particularly promising ones at that.

Baldwin, whose lines are of the "I need some answers" variety, goes through the heroic motions like a good soldier, while Crawford, in her feature debut, does the best she can without the benefit of, to put it gently, an overwhelming amount of talent. Both have personalities pleasant enough to make it regrettable that they're trapped in the lamest model-turned-actress movie since Lauren Hutton co-starred with Evel Knievel in the misbegotten "Viva Knievel!"

Crawford plays Kate McQuean, a Miami-based family attorney who defends women against abusive husbands and for some reason keeps the same "It's the Law" sign hanging in both her home and office. It requires a bit of doing to imagine that this ordinary citizen would attract the attention of the most feared group of killers in the Western World, but that is what "Fair Game" insists we believe.

Arriving in Miami intent on blasting McQuean to oblivion is a feared group of former KGB scum, led by the ruthless Col. Kazak (Steven Berkoff), whose tempers have not been improved by a protracted stay in Cuba. Irked at McQuean because a divorce action she initiated could compromise his attempt to steal much of the world's wealth (don't ask), the colonel is determined to turn her into chopped liver as soon as possible.

Equally intent on protecting her is Dade County homicide detective Max Kirkpatrick (Baldwin), who just happens to have the skills to go toe-to-toe with these ruthless Russkies. Yes, they have the capacity, a la "The Net," to track their prey anywhere using computers, but none of them are the least bit photogenic and in this movie the beautiful people inevitably come out on top.

Clocking in at 90 minutes, "Fair Game" has the feeling of a movie that's been trimmed, which, given what remains, may not be a bad thing. Both Fletcher's script, adapted from a novel by Paula Gosling, and Sipes' direction have a hurried feeling to them, as if they couldn't wait to get this movie over with and forgotten.

Which brings us back to Crawford, who spends a fair amount of the movie in demurely revealing outfits that expose carefully rationed areas of flesh. Though the credits indicate that three makeup people, two hairstylists, a vocal consultant and a dialogue coach all pitched in and helped her, the actress would have been better served by a single employee who knew how to read scripts and was savvy enough to advise her to stay away from this one.

* MPAA rating: R, for intermittent strong violence, language and a scene of sexuality. Times guidelines: numerous violent explosions and the briefest flashes of partial nudity.


'Fair Game'

William Baldwin: Max Kirkpatrick

Cindy Crawford: Kate McQuean

Steven Berkoff: Colonel Kazak

Christopher McDonald: Meyerson

A Silver Pictures production, released by Warner Bros. Director Andrew Sipes. Producer Joel Silver. Executive producer Thomas M. Hammel. Screenplay by Charlie Fletcher, based on the novel by Paula Gosling. Cinematographer Richard Bowen. Editors David Finfer, Christian Wagner, Steven Kemper. Costumes Louise Frogley. Music Mark Mancina. Production design James Spencer. Art director William F. Matthews. Set designer Mark Garner. Set decorator Don K. Ivey. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

* In general release throughout Southern California.

Los Angeles Times Articles