Cut Off

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“Can only dream of being a competent movie.”

cutoffRich-bitch heiress Patricia Burton finds her easy life yanked out from under her, after her millionaire father stops her allowance and requires her to get a job. Rather than anything legal, she opts, along with dumb boyfriend Pauly (Nicholas) and his friendly drug dealer, opt to rob a check-cashing store. That goes badly wrong, and they’re forced to hijack an ambulance which is transporting a stabbing victim to hospital. That doesn’t exactly solve their problems, as the local cops are on their trail after the drug dealer is arrested, whole the patient in the back (Kurupt) also turns out to have gang ties, and so is none too keen to meet the police either. How will Patricia handle the multiple threats?

The makers must have called in a lot of chips here, since the supporting cast is impressive and well above average in terms of star power. Patricia’s parents are portrayed by McDowell and Faye Dunaway, while also in the cast are Anne Archer, James Russo and Clint Howard. However, these fail miserably to cover up the flaws in the script, which is full of massive plot-holes. Apparently, when you hijack a vehicle in Tucson (hey, local interest to this Arizona resident!), for the first few hours, the authorities will only send a single patrol car, containing two vanilla officers, to keep an eye on you. And if you’re in a siege situation, you can just wander out the back, because the police won’t bother to cover it. I will admit, these inconsistencies are addressed with a final twist. On the other hand, that simply replaces it with a far worse, cop-out, which I’ll avoid spoiling, except to say I was warned against it by my English teacher when I was seven. This is, however, probably the only GWG film which explicitly nods for inspiration to The Wizard of Oz.

It’s a difficult role for Brooks, especially given her lack of experience, because the film starts off by making Patricia borderline repellent, and she has to spend the rest of the film pulling the audience back from this initial dislike. There are a number of flashbacks, which explore her relationship with her father, and make it clear that her brattishness and delinquency are largely cries for his attention. However, this may be a case of ‘too little, too late,’ and while you can admire the strength of personality she is shown as developing over the course of the proceedings depicted here, it’s a quality which also has its impact undercut by the final twist. The influence of Quentin Tarantino is clearly present in an excess of mind-numbingly meaningless dialogue, and if I remain a sucker for an action heroine with a British accent, that isn’t enough to salvage what is closer to an ill-conceived mess.

Dir: Gino Cabanas + Dick Fisher
Star: Amanda Brooks, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Kurupt, Malcolm McDowell

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