- Billy Dee Williams
- Morgan Fairchild
Quite a modest, but diverting modern crime noir featuring the likes of Billy Dee Williams, Vanity, Morgan Fairchild and John Beck. Director / writer Larry Cohen was the man behind the production, until he was replaced halfway through by director William Tannen. This makes the atmospheric tone rather uneven and the script does have its random occurrences (Williams stuffing his face with a pickle/ or chicken and getting in a confrontation with an elevator door?!) and continuity problems that seem to be more so noticeable the further along it goes. The climatic revelations leaves us with many loose plot ends and a disappointing pay-off. Nonetheless it's Williams' performance along with a luminous Vanity that adds life to this rather formulaic cut and dry presentation. Playing it tough, but with a sardonic edge ("Everybody is kicking my arse today"); a fashionable Williams made for a likable suave, if brash presence (well-dressed and also sweet talking the ladies) as his private eye character Hamberger finds himself set-up for murder after taking up an offer to knock off someone's wife. Instead he informs the lady of the deal, so she can flee. However she ends up dead, Hamberger is the prime suspect and he finds out the man who made the offer and the lady he met up with that night wasn't who he was to believe. Now it's a race against the clock to find the real killer.
Technically is competently pulled off with some sturdy set-pieces; like its great intro with a sweet cameo by Joe Spinell, a spectacular fist-fight in a large Christmas tree, Williams finding himself in a helicopter-by shooting and against the odds holding a chair while his aggressor aims up with a scythe. Not to forget the climatic shootout at Shea Stadium. The New York location work is very well pulled off. The narrative is busily structured, where one thing leads onto another and this follows Williams' luckless character. Outside Williams and Vanity; Morgan Fairchild gives an icy performance, John Beck does rather little and Joseph Cortese fairs up much better.