Let's be honest here: Final Move is a direct-to-DVD film. Worse, one of its stars is a former high fashion model (and an ex-Mrs. Rod Stewart to boot). These are not things that, in my mind, bode particularly well (if you've seen Cindy Crawford engage in what can only loosely be called acting, you know what I mean). But I liked the description I received of this film and decided to give it a try. And you know what? I was pleasantly surprised.
Dan Marlowe (Matt Schulze) is a former cop so emotionally brutalized by a case involving a chess-obsessed serial killer that he has a breakdown from which is only now recovering. When Detective Krieg (Lochlyn Munro) is called to a murder scene in Los Angeles, however, he believes he has little choice but to get in touch with his former partner. The murder it seems, bears all of the hallmarks of a serial killer the two thought they'd caught — and who has, in fact, just been executed.
Along with the FBI agent the pair worked with on the previous case (Iris Quarrie, played by Rachel Hunter), the two work frantically to catch the killer. At the same time, they all worry that there's some small chance that an innocent man may have died to pay for crimes he didn't commit. Marlowe has an edge, though, that could help solve the new murder sooner rather than later. But that same edge could also tumble him into insanity: Marlowe has psychic flashes during which he can see a murder as it's committed.
While the police engage in their manhunt and scramble to prevent another murder they're certain is to come, Marlowe must also deal with his wife's resentment of his job. Amy Marlowe (Amanda Detmer) only wants her husband to retire from the work that almost took him from her, but he can't let this case go until he both catches a killer and answers his own doubts as to the man he sent to his death.
Most of the actors in Final Move have fairly lengthy résumés, and the quality of acting in the movie is generally quite good. Schulze in particular does a fine job. The real surprise comes from Rachel Hunter who is actually okay. The supporting cast is also just fine, particularly David Carradine — a favorite of mine — as a police captain in charge of the new investigation. There are moments where Detmer, however, is wooden; a sexy turn by Lyndsay Griffin is mitigated by what appears to be nothing so much as an over-rehearsed performance. And don't even get me started on the wanna-be creepy performance that opens the movie!
I personally found the production values to be surprisingly good. The cinematography is excellent, and the sets convincing. In some instances the lighting was lacking but the truth is that I thought that added far more than it took away. Most of the make-up effects were good; an explosion series had both good and bad moments.
Director Joey Travolta made some poor editing decisions, I believe (most notably in the opening sequence) and I suspect some of the instances of poor acting must be laid at his feet as well. The script is good (though not quite as good as it could have been), but I found some substantial mistakes to be glaring: a cop with a gun handles the weapon in an entirely amateur and dangerous manner; an execution is conducted via the electric chair which California does not use.
Still, Final Move had an interesting premise and did an overall nice job in getting its story across. The bottom line here is that, with the addition of a little popcorn and a cold soda, you'll be set up for a diverting afternoon or evening if you pick up a copy of Final Move for yourself.
POLITICAL NOTES: Final Move doesn't address the issue blatantly, but it's there throughout the film: What if an innocent man was executed? It's a point well worth pondering, particularly given the number of cases in recent years in which jailed men have been released after better technology or new information showed their innocence. It's tough to go back and correct a mistake, though, if the wronged man is dead! To their credit, these cops seem to appreciate that.
FAMILY SUITABILITY: Final Move is rated R for "violence, language, and some sexual content." I believe that rating is just about right. There are moments of violence and gore that are much too much for children, and though the sexual content is included largely as comic relief, it's also a little too graphic for the youngsters. I'd reserve Final Move for those of 16 and up or so.
Lady Liberty, a senior writer for ESR, is a graphic designer and pro-freedom activist currently residing in the Midwest. More of her writings and other political and educational information is available on her web site, Lady Liberty's Constitution Clearing House, at http://www.ladylibrty.com. E-mail Lady Liberty at