Most Wanted (1997) – Review

2 Stars

Most Wanted is star Keenen Ivory Wayans’s bid for action hero status. After, coming off The Glimmer Man in a co-star capacity, Wayans has promoted himself to the lead in an attempt to cash in on the fruitful action genre. Most Wanted is a violent departure from the comedian’s normal offerings, but it’s a modestly budget programmer with a few nicely handled sequences laced with an absurd plot. This is a film that mixes so many elements from (at the time) current hits that the movie feels derivative from its opening frame. Good thing Wayans has considerable charisma even in a B-movie like this. He isn’t the problem it’s the lackluster script that hampers the exciting elements of the picture.

Sgt. James Dunn (Keenen Ivory Wayans), who is guilty of assassination a superior officer during Desert Storm, is saved from death row and recruited for top-secret special operations squad led by Lt. Col Grant Casey (Jon Voight). Their mission is to neutralize criminals who had avoided conventional law enforcement methods. On his first Mission, James is made the fall guy for the assassination of the first lady and everyone is looking for him and Dr. Victoria Constantini (Jill Hennessy) who coincidentally captured the event on her home video camcorder. Dunn is now on the run with the Dr. and is hunted by Casey’s troops and C.I.A. goons, as well as local law enforcement. Now, with time expiring and capture becoming eminent, Dunn and his companion must survive long enough to get the tape out and expose the massive conspiracy behind the first lady’s murder.

Wayans makes a credible and likable leading man. With a background in comedy, you’d think Most Wanted would play like a spoof on the genre, but it’s a straight-faced, routine picture that could have used more of Jon Voight’s scenery chewing Lt. Col character. Voight uses the confines of the film he’s in to go for broke ala Tommy Lee Jones in Under Siege. Most Wanted isn’t the worst choice for action fans, it’s just not memorable in any sort of way.

Director: David Hogan
Stars: Keenen Ivory Wayans, Jon Voight, Jill Hennessy,

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