3 StarsAcademy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr. receives top billing and his image dominates 3/4 of the advertising poster, yet he is relegated to co-star in the Aussie produced action thriller, Absolute Deception. A widowed reporter living in New York is shocked to find that her husband has been alive for two years hiding out in the Gold Coast section of Australia. Miles Scott was thought to have perished in a fiery car crash three years prior, turns out he faked his death and has started a new life under the alias David Archer. His former wife (Emmanuelle Vaugier), under fire at work for a recent scathing article on the downfall of a powerful business tycoon, is approached by an F.B.I. officer (Gooding Jr.) to aid in the investigation of her late husband’s secrets. The F.B.I. agent and the reporter team up to allude a squad af hitmen that are bent on killing the pair. Behind the plot is a corporate raider, being indicted by the government, currently on house arrest awaiting trial. From the confines of his lush estate, he is contracting henchmen to take out the snooping newswoman and the pesky federal agent.
The Australians have a long rich history in genre filmmaking dating back at least 50 years. One of the shinning talents since the 1970’s has been director Brian Trenchard-Smith, a favorite of esteemed writer/director Quentin Tarantino and cult audiences alike. Trenchard-Smith was the guiding hand behind two of my favorite Oz-imports, the subversive and sublime, Dead-End Drive In and The Siege of Firebase Gloria. Unfortunately, his latest isn’t on the level of those admirable flicks, but its an entertaining little thriller that’s a notch above some of Gooding Jr.’s recent outings.
Absolute Deception is not the typical fare from Gooding Jr., it features a few action set-pieces but is essentially a drama with a shoot-out here and a car chase there. That’s ok, because to be truthful, I’ve had my fill of the one-time Oscar winner running around wielding a gun in foreign countries. It’s evident he can still handle gigs that require more ‘acting’, even though its seems that muscle hasn’t been flexed in quite some time. I would encourage a return to lite comedy or even a supporting role in something prestigious. I like the guy so much, that its somewhat depressing to watch him play second lead in a (new age) Ozplotaion flick, though he pulls it out in typically solid fashion.
Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Emmanuelle Vaugier, Evert McQueen