June 8, 2019

The Curiosity Factor of THE TRIGGER EFFECT and BODY COUNT

Starring Kyle MacLachlan, Elisabeth Shue, Dermot Mulroney, Richard T. Jones, Michael Rooker. Directed by David Koepp. (1996/93 min).
Starring David Caruso, Ving Rhames, Linda Fiorentino, John Leguizamo, Donnie Wahlberg, Forest Whitaker. Directed by Robert Patton-Spruill. (1998/85 min).

Review by Tiger the Terrible😾

When movies are re-issued together as double features, they’re usually of the same genre or a particular actor appears in both. So the pairing of The Trigger Effect and Body Count was initially perplexing. One is a quasi-disaster film about a widespread blackout, the other follows a crew of criminals after an art heist.

But upon further review, I realized these films actually have a few things in common:
  • Both boast impressive casts. Not necessarily A-listers, but with pretty decent resumes.
  • Both were released virtually unnoticed in the 90s. In fact, Body Count never got a theatrical release.
  • Despite being over 20 years old, both are only-now being released on Blu-ray.
Regarding the first point, I suppose the curiosity factor might be relatively high. But even fans of any of these actors might have a hard time sitting through either film.

"Damn...no Twinkies."
The Trigger Effect’s premise is promising...how a massive, lengthy blackout causes society to breakdown. However, the story is distressingly episodic, jumping from one crisis to another before any of them has a chance to get interesting. The Twilight Zone explored the concept far better in a fraction of the time. Of the cast, Michael Rooker comes off best, providing the film’s only moments of genuine intensity. Too bad he’s regulated to just a few scenes.

"He didn't wash his hands. So I shot him."
Despite boasting a better cast, Body Count is an irredeemable mess. Haphazardly assembled and erratic in tone, it fails as both a thriller and a black comedy, though it desperately wants to be both. Not only that, the narrative is consistently undone by stupid characters whose actions often defy explanation or logic. Ving Rhames is good, but David Caruso and John Leguizamo seem to be competing to see who can give the most irritating performance. It quickly becomes obvious why this one went straight to video.

Even at a bargain price, this double feature is a hard sell. There’s a reason both films remain obscure and even the curiosity factor isn’t enough to make either of them worth enduring. Everyone involved on both sides of the camera have done far better work.



No comments: