It’s 12:49 pm
I was finishing up my “Lawman” review and thinking about making some coffee when the cheetah came over and tugged on my pant leg. I bent down to give him a pat on the head when he took my hand in his mouth and started gently pulling my hand.
Soon we were back in the basement,I thought he was wanted to pick our next movie but instead he walked to our section of films we have reviewed. I was curious at what he was doing but understood when he pawed down “Mercenaries”.
I had to agree with Paladin,it’s been way too long since we have reviewed a Kristanna Loken film,the fact we have done only one is rather glaring. Well lucky for Paladin and myself,I picked up a fun detective film called “Black Rose” up just this past week. The cheetah grabbed the popcorn and I grabbed the movie and away we go…..
A serial killer is on the loose in Los Angeles. The killer is targeting Russian women and brutally killing them while leaving cryptic messages in Russian along with a black rose in their mouths. The LAPD has a task force led by Captain Dalano (Robert Davi) and his team of detectives led by Matt Robinson (Adrian Paul). The task force is coming up empty as the small Russian community is tight lipped about offering information.
Captain Dalano tells his team that he was asked for outside help,that a Russian cop might help them. Robinson’s professional pride is hurt and he urges Dalano that his team can crack the case. But the call has gone out for the help….
Meanwhile in Moscow,a crew of criminals led by the Black Mask (Matthias Hues) is robbing a bank. Things to shit in a hurry once a teller hits the alarm,Black Mask kills her but the alarm has brought out Russian police in force and they surround the bank very quickly while killing the getaway driver the crew had waiting.
The lead cop tries to talk to Black Mask but he just kills a hostage. At this time Detective Vladimir Kazatov (Alexander Nevsky) arrives on the scene (driving a Hummer!!!) and he goes inside unarmed to try to trade himself for the hostages,Black Mask refuses and threatens to kill a child….Vlad leaves the bank,jumps into the getaway car and drives into the bank,jumps out and kills Black Mask and two other thugs. Vlad is a bad ass….his Commander gently “reprimands” him but also tells him he is sending Vlad to Los Angeles to help catch the Black Rose killer.
Vlad is initially paired with Det. Antonio Banuelos (Robert Madrid) who picks him up at the airport. He meets Captain Dalano,he is very glad to have Vlad helping,he really wants these killings to stop. Robinson is not exactly friendly however,he still feels his team can catch the killer despite 6 women who disagree with him IF they were alive.
Vlad and Antonio hit the streets after meeting the task force. But when Vlad steps in to stop a violent crime and kills a bad guy on his first day,Baunelos bails out of being Vlad’s partner and Dalano brings in rookie profiler Emily Smith (Loken) as his new partner.
The two hit the streets hard,as another killing has happened and what is alarming is the killer seems to be aware of Vlad’s involvement. Vlad and Emily comb over all their leads including a fish market owner who seems to know more then he lets on and they all lead to a club called Black Sea.
Vlad and Emily make a good team,she even shows him how to speak “Valley Girl” (which cracked us up) and they learn a little more about each other.
They talk to the staff at the Black Sea including the owner,a woman named Natalya who says she knows nothing.
Things take a turn for the worse when Vlad returns to his apartment and finds a Black Rose and the fish market owner is found dead with a message targeting Emily. The killer definitely is one step ahead of Vlad and Emily. But how is the biggest question and they don’t have much time left to catch a most cunning and clever criminal. It only gets harder when Dalano wants to pull Emily off the case and Vlad,who had stepped in once to stop the move,now agrees. With Emily feeling betrayed will the partnership survive long enough to solve the killings??
So did the cheetah and I like “Black Rose”? Yeah,we did. There is a lot to like and there are some bumps as well. Let’s go with what went right first. Black Rose was produced and directed by its star Alexander Nevsky. What he did right is a good casting director because the supporting cast is top drawer.
Adrian Paul from “Highlander” fame actually makes a very good snarky and jealous cop who is upset that his skills are questioned. I thought he was perfect as Robinson,he put in the work in a tough role.
Robert Davi….okay,let me ask this,has Robert Davi ever had a bad performance?? While playing memorable bad guy Franz Sanchez in “License To Kill”,my favorite Davi role was as Bailey Malone in “Profiler”. Which is why when Dalano introduced Emily as a “profiler” I’m sure many fans watching that like me had a huge smile on our faces.
Kristanna was pretty kick ass as Emily Smith and I know I’m not alone in thanking Nevsky the director for showing Kristanna’s lighter side and letting her smile in a film.
It seems every movie has Loken cast as dour,serious and have sense of humor. Watching her Emily interact with Vlad a peer and act like partners really helps the movie. She is a beautiful woman and its nice to Nevsky point that out.
The bumps…..and I really hate pointing this point but Alexander’s heavy Russian accent really made it hard to understand him. He has a good screen presence but the accent was just so thick,I’m not if this was on purpose or that is his normal speaking voice,this is the time I have watched him. I admire how he refuses to allow himself to be typecast as a “typical Russian”. Vlad doesn’t smoke nor drink alcohol and I read that Nevsky refuses roles that have him play that kind of role.
The direction wasn’t bad once the story reached Los Angeles,the bank robbery scene was pretty awful and Matthias Hue was wasted as Black Mask. It didn’t appear that the crew wanted to rob the bank as much as they all wanted to get caught with all the mistakes they made…like popping up automatic weapons fire as soon as they entered the bank!
Once the production hit Los Angeles,it seemed that Alexander was on firmer ground and the film was much tighter and moved much better.
But otherwise,we enjoyed “Black Rose” as a fun nod towards to “cop buddies” films of the 80s and 90s.
“Black Rose” is rated “R” and has a run time of 83 minutes. Extras include a trailer and a photo gallery. You can get a copy of this film at ITN Distribution.
The cheetah and I gave “Black Rose” a thumbs/paw up.
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