Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Monday, September 8, 2008

D.O.A. (1988)

D.O.A. (1988). Directed by Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel.

English professor Dexter Cornell (Dennis Quaid) is in the middle of a divorce, as well as a severe career slump as a writer, when one of his students apparently commits suicide. Later on Cornell discovers that somehow he ingested poison and has only a couple of days to live. He and a student (Meg Ryan) set out to investigate, and uncover some sleazy goings-on involving the dead student, which may or may not relate to his desperate situation. This remake of D.O.A.(1950) starring Edmund O'Brien is not in the same league. It holds the attention, there are some acceptable action sequences, and the new storyline has its clever aspects, but the movie isn't as fast, moving, or memorable by half. Beginning with the scene when Quaid literally joins himself to a reluctant Ryan by gluing their hands together, the picture takes on a cutesy tone that is completely inappropriate for the situations. Ryan is too perky by far, Quaid gives a perfectly okay second-rate performance, and Daniel Stern walks off with the acting honors as his associate and buddy. Charlotte Rampling offers another one of her patented "cold fish" performances as the patron of the dead student – she wears one expression throughout this movie (and probably all the others she was in).

Verdict: Stick with the original. **1/2.

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