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River Murders, The (DVD Review)

17 Sep, 2011 By: Angelique Flores

Street 9/20/11
Sony Pictures
$26.99 DVD
Rated ‘R’ for disturbing violent content, graphic nudity and language including sexual references.
Stars Ray Liotta, Ving Rhames, Christian Slater.

The River Murders has some big names attached to it, but falls a little flat in the end.

Jack Verdon, played by a paunchy Ray Liotta, is a homicide detective who finds himself as the main suspect in the latest string of murders. The link between the victims of this serial killer is that they are Jack’s former lovers.

While trying to clear his name, Jack also is trying to protect his wife, Ana (talented and sexy Brazilian actress Gisele Fraga), and his partner, Jenny, with whom he had an affair. On Jack’s side is fellow detective Langley, played by Ving Rhames, who turns in a somewhat disinterested performance.

As the murders cross state lines, the FBI is brought in to handle the case. Enter Christian Slater as the stereotypical aggressive jerk cop, but also with a foul mouth, who seems to harass Jack more than investigate the crime.

Without giving away too much, the motive for the real killer stems from an abortion that was planned but never took place. There seems to be a commentary throughout the film on abortion, though it’s unclear as to whether it was trying to make a pro-life case for abortion being murder or a pro-choice case in depicting how some pro-lifers can be extreme and pretty violent themselves. In either case, the murderer and his game are deranged.

The killer’s motive is a bit convoluted (but, I guess, what serial killer is logical?), and the ending falls short of all the build-up. The film plays like an extended episode of “Law & Order” or “Criminal Minds.” In a mystery-thriller it’s frustrating and disappointing to figure everything out well before the characters do, as is the case here.

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