(director: Jon Avnet; screenwriter: Robert King; cinematographer: Karl Walter Lindenlaub; editor: Peter E. Berger; music: Thomas Newman; cast: Richard Gere (Jack Moore), Bai Ling (Shen Yuelin), Bradly Whitford (Bob Ghery), Peter Donat (David McAndrews), Robert Stanton(Ed Pratt), Tsai Chin(Chairman Xu), James Hong (Lin Shou), Jessey Meng (Hong Ling), Chi Yu Li (General Hong), Henry O (Procurator General Yang), Roger Yuan (Huan Minglu), Ulrich Matschoss (Gerhardt Hoffman), Richard Venture (Ambassador Reed); Runtime: 122; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Jordan Kerner/Rosalie Swedin/Charles B. Mulvehill/Jon Avnet; MGM;1997-USA-English and Mandarin )

“Unconvincing courtroom thriller.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Jon Avnet(“Fried Green Tomatoes”/”The War”) helms this unconvincing courtroom thriller, that’s turgidly written as a political drama by Robert King. This ludicrous film plays as an anti-Chinese film, showing their judicial system to be rigid and unfair.

American businessman Jack Moore (Richard Gere) is in Beijing to arrange for his media company a lucrative television satellite deal with the Chinese government. After picking up a Chinese model, the daughter of a powerful general, at a club and sleeping with her, in the morning the police raid his hotel room and find her dead and him asleep. His only help is the court-appointed Chinese female lawyer Shen Yuelen (Bai Ling). How she helps him get out of this frame-up, through no help from the noxious judge (Tsai Chin), is the gist of the story.

The film is ponderous, lacks tension and focus. The climax resolves around a contrived courtroom shooting.

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