March 1st, 2012

MIDNIGHT HEAT (1996) **

I had high hopes for Midnight Heat, seeing as it was directed by Allan A. Goldstein, the man who made the immortal Death Wish 5: The Face of Death. I mean when a guy like Goldstein teams up with a guy like Brian “The Boz” Bosworth, you just expect good things. Unfortunately, the results are far below what either man is capable of.

Bosworth stars as a mild-mannered banker who gets hit by a car and immediately loses his memory. Shortly thereafter, his wife comes to collect him from the hospital and he slowly tries to get accustomed to his surroundings. But as he begins his daily routine, he starts having flashbacks of being in prison and having tattoos. When some thugs kill his wife, The Boz goes on the run to remember his mysterious past.

Man, what a disappointment. First off, The Boz is seriously miscast in this movie. As a badass biker with a mullet, he’s in his element. As a clean cut amnesiac banker, not so much. I mean you know he’s a wimp in this one from the scene where we see him eat tofu. Seriously Boz, tofu? We’re talking Wimp City, Population you, buddy.

Since The Boz’s character has amnesia for the bulk of the movie, he spends most of the time looking puzzled; almost as if he’s still wondering where he mullet went. That also means he gets very few opportunities to act like a badass or say funny one-liners. The closest he comes to being funny is when he borrows a cigarette from a henchman, then he beats him up and quips, “I hate menthols!”

But even Goldstein drops the ball too as the action scenes are just kinda there. Most of the car chases are statically choreographed and filmed and the shootouts are pretty weak. There are a couple of exploding motorcycles here and some exploding cars there, but nothing up to the level of Stone Cold. But then again, if you start comparing this movie to Stone Cold you’re just setting yourself up for a bout of extreme depression.

The only guy who comes off decently is Brad Dourif as the villain. He gets a good scene where he breaks out a bus full of prisoners and makes them shoot each other for freedom. Too bad he looks so goofy in the cheesy black and white flashbacks.

Sure, Midnight Heat is kind of a washout, but once The Boz regains his memory, the film starts showing some signs of life. If only Bosworth knew the score from the get-go, this might’ve been alright. As it is, the OK finale can’t save the decidedly ho-hum first hour.

Special Note: Midnight Heat goes by a lot of different titles. Sometimes you see it under the title Blackout and other times it’s called A.K.A. I can’t for the life of me figure out why they haven’t re-released it under the title, The Boz Identity.

AKA: Blackout. AKA: A.K.A.