DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

DEAD BY MIDNIGHT (TV MOVIE) (director: Jim McBride; screenwriter: Michael Vickerman; cinematographer: Affonso Beato; editors: Betsy Blankett /Milicevic; music: Mason Daring; cast: Timothy Hutton (Sam Ellis), Suzy Amis (Dr. Sarah Flint), John Glover (Dr. Armond Drake), Max Wright (Dr. Jonas Reilly), Grant Hesloy (Detective Mackowitz), Liliana Cabal (Karen Ellis); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Barbara Black/Kenneth H. Gross/Michael Vickerman; Daniel H. Blatt Productions; 1997)

"Some juicy ideas, but the sci-fi story never comes together as a cohesive movie."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A goofy made as a television movie about a man (Timothy Hutton) having a beautiful family life until he wakes up from his dreams and realizes he can't because he's dead and has only been brought back to life through cybernetics. We further learn that a secret government organization did experiments on the subject in an effort to create an ideal agent who can readily be reprogrammed into an assassin. The woman mistaken by him for his wife is actually the computer programmer (Suzy Amis), who programs his fantasy life. The sinister secret cyborg boss is John Glover, who aims to use the subject, brain dead from a car accident, as an assassin. For Hutton, it's a race against time to save his daughter's life from the conspiracy mongers after he escapes from his kidnappers. He must do this before midnight, when he's programmed to die.

Director Jim McBride ("The Big Easy"/"Uncovered"/"The Informant") and writer Michael Vickerman have some juicy ideas, but the sci-fi story never come together as a cohesive movie. It's a muddled attempt to be a Total Recall (1990) type of narrative.

REVIEWED ON 4/8/2016       GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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