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HARD TRUTH, THE(director: Kristine Peterson; screenwriter: Jonathan Tydor; cinematographer: Ross Berryman; editor: Kert Vandermeulen; music: Daniel Licht; cast: Eric Roberts (Chandler Etheridge), Michael Rooker (Jonah Mantz), Lysette Anthony (Lisa Kantrell), Ray Baker (Hamilton Nichols), Yvonne Farrow (Councilwoman Vincet), Nicholas Cascone (Councilman Polone), Don Yesso (Luis Gisors), Douglas Rowe (Capt. Bering), Lee Wessof (Leandro), Charlie Brewer (Psycho Killer), Jason Schombing (Xylo); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Gary DePew/Brad Southwick; Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment; 1994)
“Just another disposable thriller.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Kristine Peterson (“Lower Level”/”Deadly Dreams”/”Body Chemistry”) crudely directs this amoral low-budget made-for-television crime drama, a film that claims ‘the hard truth’ is experience. It’s best suited for fans of character actors Eric Roberts and Michael Rooker, who get a chance to watch them try to outdo each other in over-the-top acting.

Jonah Mantz (Michael Rooker) is an honest decorated hero NYC detective for the last ten years, who is not respected by his bosses because he’s so violent in his arrest of the criminal scum. After killing a psycho killer who mows down a number of passengers on a subway platform, Jonah is insulted by his captain and has to be called back to the force after he turns in his badge. When his sexy girlfriend Lisa Kantrell (Lysette Anthony), a staffer secretary, is sexually harassed by her sleazy and corrupt councilman boss Hamilton Nichols (Ray Baker) boss, she comes up with a plan to rob her boss’s safe of $3 million after he gets a kickback from mobster Leandro to push through a big city construction project. She talks the love-struck Jonah into the robbery. He uses his criminal sources to hunt down ace part-time safe-cracker and electronics expert Dr. Chandler Etheridge (Eric Roberts), an out-of-towner whose day job is as a top-notch industrial New Age designer .

The robbery succeeds despite a love triangle developing, but then a number of double-crosses take place and Jonah has to rely on unwanted help from his former hero partner cop Luis Gisors (Don Yesso), someone who traded in his badge to be a bodyguard for Leandro, to survive.

None of it is interesting. Just another disposable thriller. It doesn’t help that smoldering femme fatale Anthony, a Brit, gets the Yank accent down but her performance is wooden and her sexual activity is not very erotic.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”