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Traces of Red Review

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Florida cop James Belushi lies dead with a bullet in his chest narrating the story of how he got into such a sorry state. A carefree stud who's having an affair with wealthy widow Lorraine Bracco but isn't averse to the occasional night of saxophone-scored sin with a waitress, Belushi is somewhat upset when several of the babes he has been bouncing on turn up naked and stabbed.

On top of that, he's receiving threatening poems from the killer, his politically ambitious brother (William Russ) wants to cover the scandal up, Bracco is acting really suspicious and uses the same brand of lipstick found on the poems, and his happily married partner (Goldwyn) is starting to be tempted by the available Bracco.

Obviously intended as some kind of an "erotic thriller", this substitutes a heavy reliance on the burbling horn section for actual steaminess, with the decidedly tubby Belushi hardly qualifying as the epitome of a smouldering sex god and a pretty rough-looking Bracco indulging in an especially silly bedsheet session with the bewildered Goldwyn. Meanwhile, back at the plot, things get stranger, with a succession of ridiculous coincidences, laughable revelations (including an opportunist sub-plot about child-abuse) and predictable slashings, setting up an absurd double-whammy ending that requires you to swallow contrivances so blatant even Alfred Hitchcock wouldn't let them into a movie.

On DVD this might just be passable on the strength of its surprisingly talented cast (just how did Bracco fall from the Oscar-nominated heights of Goodfellas to this kind of cheap tackiness?), but as a cinema release it's dead in the water.

While the dumb but complex plot provides entertainment, the whole thing is thrown together with such shoddiness that it's hard to watch, and, with its truly horrible musak accompaniment, nearly impossible to listen to.

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