Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Playing God (1997)

Synopsis: David Duchovny drives a black Porsche around Los Angeles, gets into trouble wherever he goes, woos a hot chick, and narrates his life. Oh my God – it’s a surprisingly violent episode of Californication!

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “It’s high-voltage thrills as hot, X-Files star David Duchovny and new big-screen bad boy Timothy Hutton (Beautiful Girls) square off in an edgy confrontation where the stakes are high... and the action is deadly!” 

What Did I Learn?: 1) On a good day, Hell can look a lot like L.A. 2) “Each life is made up of big decisions and each day is made up of a million little decisions. What shirt to wear, what street to walk on, what to eat for lunch. Now all of these seemingly inconsequential choices may change your life forever. But who can handle that kind of responsibility? It would paralyze you to think about it. So you have to trust your instinct, what the Greeks might call your character.”

Really?: 1) You know, I was more-or-less able to suspend my sense of disbelief until Raymond phones the slimy FBI agent and makes a deal. From that point, Raymond shoots his Chinese contact, and goes on a murder-kidnapping-reckless driving spree that doesn’t make a lot of sense. 2) Not that many people would go apeshit on the doctor who unsuccessfully tried to save the life of a significant other. 3) Wait - Eugene lives in squalor after losing his medical license, and yet we later discover his family is loaded?

Rating: Playing God starts out well as a character-driven look at Eugene Sands (Duchovny), a drug-addicted, wise-cracking ex-doctor who is wrestling with his conscience as he reluctantly goes to work for a big-time criminal. The film would have worked a lot better had it stayed on this track, but it suddenly becomes more plot-and-action driven in the second act with trigger-happy Russian gangsters and crooked FBI agents. It’s still an enjoyable time-waster. 6.5/10 stars.

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