Saturday, 21 May 2011



Who doesn't remember Bryan Genesse? Who wasn't there for the lamest of the sub-sub-Revenge Of The Nerds, sub-sub-Porky's high school smutarama of the 1980s, Screwballs II: Loose Screws? I caught this in late 1985 at the Star Centa in the now-demolished Swiss Centre off Leicester Square on a double bill with Gary Sherman's Vice Squad and even now, more than a quarter of a century later, I still shudder at the thought of it. Bryan Genesse was the star of this thoroughly unedifying experience, and has occasionally cropped up subsequently in extraordinarily low-rent wallopfests such as Cyborg Cop 3, Project Shadowchaser: Night Siege and Cold Harvest. And this, which makes the mistake of asking him to actually act.

Traitor's Heart is a generally dull and nonsensical conspiracy thriller in which Genesse is an amnesiac Army veteran who is suddenly approached by people who claim to know him - and then they're mysteriously bumped off. Could he be next? He and his colleagues (who he doesn't remember) are apparently being hunted for information they might have concerning shady activities in their past (which he can't remember). Curiously, they're also concerned that he might have arranged for top secret files to be leaked to the press in the event of his death, which makes you wonder why they seem so intent on killing him. Who can he trust? His doctor, his father - everyone seems to think he's suffering from paranoid delusions and just needs more treatment, but what's it really all about?

The film starts off with a long slow-motion sequence of War Is Hell action with picturesque explosions and low flying helicopters dwarfing the fleeing soldiers while grand opera plays on the soundtrack - yes, we saw Platoon and Apocalypse Now, we know how classical music can be used against footage of things blowing up. But the rest of it is flat, nonsensical and has too much talk and not enough action (despite a car chase); even clocking in at a slim 90 minutes it's slow and frankly dull, ending in an extended courtroom scene that's less of a grandstanding showdown than a string of technicalities and an unconvincing about-face from a major character. It wants to be Robocop, it wants to be The Terminator, but it isn't even Cyborg. Of very, very little interest.


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