Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sylvester Stallone Stars in Psychological Thriller

Sylvester Stallone's star power failed to push the film D-Tox (aka Eye See You) to box office or critical success. It's a rather lackluster psychological thriller that has a few really good moments but fizzles out at about the halfway point. The 2002 film is directed by Jim Gillespie and is based on the novel Jitter Joint by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and crime writer Howard Swindle. The book was adapted for the screen by screenwriter Ron L. Brinkerhoff.

Sylvester Stallone Plays An FBI Agent In Pursuit Of A Serial Killer

Stallone plays FBI agent Jake Malloy who's on the trail of an elusive serial killer who's been targeting cops. He has killed nine cops inside of six months, and he doesn't appear to be slowing down any time soon. At first Malloy doesn't realize that he's the reason why the serial killer has been targeting cops. He's doing it as a form of payback against Malloy. He was in charge of the investigation four years earlier in which he was pursuing the same killer for murdering several prostitutes.

The killer claims that Malloy made his life a living hell and interfered with his "important task" of ridding the world of what he calls "diseased filth." He feels it's time to return the favor and does everything in his power to make Malloy's life a living hell, going after his friends and anyone else he's close to. He eventually drives Malloy to the bottle. When Malloy reaches rock bottom, he checks himself into a rehab facility located in an isolated, snow-covered part of Wyoming. The facility is for cops only and is run by an ex-cop. The rehab program is designed to help cops battle their addictions and well as their demons. Malloy must also contend with the serial killer who follows him to the rehab facility to continue his psychological torture.

Average Psychological Thriller

The film has a really bleak tone and look. It seems that Gillespie was going for the grim, atmospheric tone of the much superior psychological thriller Se7en, but its use in this film is downright dreary. It's all a bit too gloomy without enough spark or tension to keep the viewer involved. Granted, there are some intense, gripping scenes early in the film, but even those are highly derivative. Most of them seem like retreads of scenes from better films. There's nothing really unique that makes D-Tox stand out. It's just average in every way. Additionally, the serial killer isn't all that interesting, and having an interesting, complex serial killer is crucial for this type of film to be really effective. The film is also filled with glaring plot holes.

Strong Supporting Cast

The film has a surprisingly strong supporting cast, which includes Charles S. Dutton, Jeffrey Wright, Courtney B. Vance, Tom Berenger, Robert Prosky, Stephen Lang and Kris Kristofferson. Wright is one of the standouts as a jittery, suicidal narcotics cop who Malloy meets at the rehab facility. Wright always manages to make his roles interesting even in bad films. There's something about this actor who can make even the most generic, mundane dialogue come alive. And Dutton is solid in his role as Malloy's partner and close friend. Also, Kristofferson is a reassuring presence as Doc, the former cop and recovering alcoholic who runs the facility. He brings a genuineness and down-to-earth likability to the role. However, Berenger is pretty unmemorable in his role as one of the workers at the rehab facility; but to be fair, he wasn't really given anything interesting to work with. Stallone puts in a commendable effort as Malloy, but there is no spark in his performance.

Watchable Film But Nothing Special

D-Tox is not a bad film. It's just extremely average. It's only worth watching if you're really in the mood for a psychological thriller, and there's nothing better on.

D-Tox at Amazon

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