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Taking Out the Trash: Not even Pacino can salvage 88 Minutes 

die hard 8? Nah, Just pacino hanging out.Going under the assumption that 88 Minutes might be bad, I felt Pacino - no stranger to really

click to enlarge die hard 8? Nah, Just pacino hanging out.
  • die hard 8? Nah, Just pacino hanging out.
die hard 8? Nah, Just pacino hanging out.Going under the assumption that 88 Minutes might be bad, I felt Pacino - no stranger to really bad movies - would use his scene-chewing ability to make his screen time worth watching. It might have redeeming quality, some value, I thought. Sadly, this was not the case. Why anyone would consider making this flick is beyond my comprehension. Why Al chose to do this movie will haunt me to my grave. He might as well have starred in a Murder She Wrote anniversary special.

The premise: a college professor named Jack Gramm (Pacino) moonlights as an FBI forensic specialist. Gramm's questionable testimony has helped to convict a murderer that receives the death sentence. The move comes back to haunt Gramm on the day of the serial killer's execution via cryptic cell-phone death threats that give him, you guessed it, 88 minutes to live.

It's a shame this movie actually exceeds 88 minutes (It's 108). The audience starts fidgeting in 10. What could've been a suspenseful who-dunnit with suspects popping up all over the place turns into a by-the-book cat and mouse game. Only thing missing is the mouse (or was it the cat?)Either way, it doesn't matter. The plot-holes force the stupidity to run rampant - almost as bad as watching Pacino's 60-something body sprint around finding clues. So many promising red herrings pop up only to disappear without explanation; it's maddening. Just as characters seem ready to emerge, they dissipate into oblivion.

William Forsythe is annoying in the generic role of stern-yet-friendly cop. Amy Brenneman and Deborah Unger are useless. Alicia Witt's role is so implausible it boggles the mind. They all must suffer from dementia. That's the only account I could come up with for their participation in this immediately disappointing movie.

Then there's Leelee Sobieski... I've berated her before, but now I'm convinced that only shred of talent bestowed on her is her cleavage. She is possibly the worst actress walking the planet.

Warning: If you can't figure out who's behind the cryptic cell messages and counting "tic-tock" down the clock, you need to see more movies. This is a textbook murder mystery and the culprit is obvious from the first reel. When it gets to the end (if you last that long) you will be sorely disappointed. The evil-doer even gives a mad-scientist-maniacal-cackle that falls so flat that I heard groans of disbelief from the audience.

Allowing 88 minutes its incredulous function as transparent/irritating thriller, the only smidgeon of suspense this film generates is causing audience members to wonder how much more they can be let down, hoping against hope they won't hit the ground too hard. Luckily it's not a long fall, as this film disappoints from the start.

Al does Shakespeare and some of the best acting I've ever seen. Too bad his mere presence couldn't save the piss-poor writing and inept directing. This is the first time I've seen Pacino be dragged down by a movie, as opposed to giving it a boost. But this movie doesn't need a boost; it needs to a shove, right into the trash compactor.

88 Minutes
Directed by Jon Avnet. Starring Al Pacino, William Forsythe, Amy Brenneman, Deborah Kara Unger. Rated  R. 


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