(Warning: major SPOILER, like the identity of the killer.)
Usually any cop thriller where the main character is played by a big star has a problem. That problem is that, barring an established character played by another major star, the person with the next highest salary on the movie is inevitably the killer. Here's a list of names. You tell me who the killer is: Wanda De Jesus, Tina Lifford, Paul Rodriguez, Anjelica Huston, Jeff Daniels.
That's right, the killer is Jeff Daniels. Really, all you have to do in these stupid films is pick the person who seems least like a mass murderer and you're probably right. The other problem with films like this is that they simply run out of characters, leaving the audience to draw only one conclusion. Sure, Eastwood the director tries to make it seem like there's computer nerd who could be the killer, but the guy isn't played by a recognizable star, so even if he were the killer, who would care? Nobody. So, naturally, that guy gets shot at some point and the audience can let out a collective sigh of relief that once again they won't be challenged.
Eastwood plays former FBI investigator Terrell McCaleb. The only reason I even know the character's first name is because I looked it up. Everybody just calls him "McCaleb" until you think he might have been a pop star in a former life like Cher, Madonna or Corey (Feldman). McCaleb recently had a heart transplant, but gets back into the investigation game when he finds out his heart belonged to a woman who was murdered and her sister, Graciela (Wanda De Jesus), shows up to beg him to find the killer. That's when McCaleb starts touching his scar. From then on, he touches his scar every five or ten minutes to remind everyone, in case they forgot, that he had a heart transplant.
After McCaleb finally figures out who the killer is, he makes the same mistake that all these movie cops make: He goes somewhere alone with the guy. This is because Buddy Noone (Jeff Daniels) has kidnapped Graciela and her nephew and hidden them somewhere. McCaleb shoots Buddy and demands he show him where they are. Naturally, he doesn't do anything smart, like call in some reinforcements as they travel to the location. Nope, McCaleb just touches his scar a few times and hopes that nothing bad happens. Or how about this idea: He ties Buddy up and pokes holes in his scrotum with a fork until he talks and then McCaleb goes alone to retrieve the woman and the kid? There are millions of decent plans that don't involve jeopardizing everybody's life and if McCaleb would have thought of just one of them, he could have spent more quality time touching his scar and I could have escaped this horrible movie sooner.
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