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88 Minutes

2008-07-28 10:51
What it's about:

On the eve of the execution of Jon Forster (Neal McDonough), star forensic psychologist Dr Jack Gramm (Al Pacino) – whose testimony convinced a jury to convict Forster as a serial killer – receives an ominous phone call telling him he has 88 minutes to live. Soon two Seattle Slayer style killings take place, which not only throws doubt on Forster's conviction, but has the FBI suspecting Jack of the murders. Now the brilliant Dr Gramm must race against time to find the person responsible for the creepy phone calls, solve the murders and save his own life.

What we think of it:

This could quite possibly be the worst Al Pacino movie made, and his worst haircut ever. But the veteran actor can't be blamed for this ridiculous thriller/drama.

88 Minutes is one of those misleading films that ride on the name of an A-list actor. You walk into the theatre expecting an intelligent psychological thriller with whodunnit twists and masterpiece Pacino moments, but instead you're confronted by phony characters, dead-end subplots, illogical twists and ludicrously acrobatic killing scenes.

Scriptwriter Gary Scott Thompson (Fast & the Furious [2001], 2 Fast, 2 Furious [2003], Hollow Man [2000]) has created a far-fetched forensic psychologist who lives the life of the rich and famous, is practically a man-whore and for some reason thinks he's Jack Bauer scuttling across town, chasing baddies, flashing badges and pointing guns at every character in the film. (Yes, every character – at one point or another – is suspected by Gramm of being the voice of death.)

No sooner have you wrapped your head around the Action Jackson shrink whose office and apartment looks like ADT headquarters 20 years from now, than you're introduced to Pacino's stalkerish sidekick Kim Cummings (Alicia Witt). She's actually the good doctor's teaching assistant, and performs the most basic of sidekick duties serving as a pretty sock puppet to explain the obvious to those in the audience who haven't figured things out yet as the minutes tick by.

What's even sadder though, is that these dummy-friendly plot revelations expose a story that has more holes than a paper target at a shooting range and as many dead ends as a hedge maze. All is not lost though. There are mildly interesting moments where cars explode and students are attacked and even a little girl-on-girl action. Other than that, you simply need to ask yourself how much you're willing to loosen your grip on reality in order to be entertained.

The prize for the most convincing role has to go Neal McDonough who's so freakishly brilliant at playing the creepy bad guy, there's really no doubt he's the Seattle Slayer – even with the worst serial killer name ever!

- Megan Kakora

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Al Pacino gets a phone call telling him he has 88 minutes to live. It's a pity this movie doesn't suffer the same fate.

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