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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Louise Lasser
Paul L Smith
Brion James
Shree J Wilson.
Directors
Sam Raimi.
Screenwriters
Sam Raimi
Ethan Coen
Joel Coen.
Running Time
83 minutes

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Crimewave


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Plot
In a Detroit jail, innocent Vic Ajax is being dragged to the electric chair. He flashes back to the strange circumstances which have brought him to this fate, which involve a pair of rodent exterminators who freelance as hit men.


Review

Sam Raimi has disowned his second film, co-written with Joel and Ethan Coen, mostly because producer interference meant he had to use the bland Birney in the lead rather than his preferred star, Bruce Campbell – who nevertheless cops many of the best lines as the slimy gigolo ‘Renaldo the Heel’ (‘Hey, baby why don’t ya come on over to my pad – we’ll have a scotch and sofa’). 

Surprisingly, it’s quite an entertaining little effort, combining the craziest aspects of classic Hollywood screwball comedy with the kind of fresh insanity found in the great  cartoons – one sequence in which Louise Lasser is chased through seemingly dozens of coloured doors is up there with the best of Looney Toons.  Though cheaply made, which gives it an odd look somewhere between low budget tat and stylised gloss, Crimewave is a more inventive, engaging and, above all, funnier comedy than most big studio films of the mid-80s. 

Much of the comic weight is given to sustained slapstick chases and battles, but the film’s charm comes from its performances – particularly, hulking Paul L. Smith and ratlike Brion James as Faron Crush and Arthur Coddish, who seem like the live-action equivalents of the Tasmanian Devil and Wile E. Coyote down to the Mel Blanc-type funny voices. 

With a terrific ‘40s big band score (occasioning one marvellous gag about a dance contest), a loving approach to its own stereotypes, and a sense of its own peculiarity, Crimewave is never going to be anybody’s favourite movie, but deserves a small but fanatical cult following. 


Verdict
Bizarre and entertaining little film that deserves a look


Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Average user rating for Crimewave
Empire Star Rating

RE: Crimewave

Another piece of greatness from Sam Raimi and once again... 3 blimmin' stars!   This is a really fun film. Completely stupid and over the top, but that's never been a bad thing. ... More

Posted by AgentGoth at 17:55, 28 April 2006 | Report This Post


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