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

Thursday, July 27, 2017


Michael Madsen points gun at Val Kilmer
KILL ME AGAIN (1989). Director: John Dahl.

Jack Andrews (Val Kilmer) is a down-on-his-luck private eye who owes $10,000 gambling money to hoodlums. Into his office comes Fay Forrester (Joanne Whalley), who has just stolen thousands from a boyfriend, Vince (Michael Madsen), who ripped off the mob. Fay importunes Jack into helping her fake her own death so she can go on with her life without fear of reprisal, although she doesn't let Jack in on everything. Before long Jack is suspected of murder, Vince and the mob are both gunning for him, and Jack finds an unlikely ally -- or does he? At one point Fay tells Jack that her original estimate of him was that he was a loser, and despite certain developments, her first impressions are accurate, as the man seems completely inept as a private eye. There are attempts to create pathos with brief flashbacks showing how he failed to save a woman, his wife most likely, from drowning, but this comes to nothing. Kill Me Again is entertaining and well-acted -- Michael Madsen especially scores as the vicious and threatening Vince -- but all the plot turns can't disguise the fact  that this is lower case film noir.. Jack's methods for faking someone's death may have played in the 1940's, but they seem ridiculous in a movie from the 80's. John Gries is effective as Jack's doomed buddy, Alan, and Bibi Besch shows up briefly as Jack's secretary. Kilmer [The Saint] and Whalley [Shattered] were married at the time; she was then known as Joanne Whalley-Kilmer. She's not bad as the femme fatale but a little insufficient as a major sexpot.

Verdict: It plays, but you've seen this once too often. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

You are so right, Bill, this is not bad if you like noir, which I do very much, and I love Joanne Whaley Kilmer, who I first saw in a TV miniseries playing Scarlett O'Hara in the sequel to GWTW. And Val Kilmer and Michael Madsen are great actors, fun to watch them work.
- Chris

William said...

I think Madsen steals the show in this, but the others are all good.