Director Kevin Hooks's FLED is a fast action movie that appears to
be about two convicts on the lam, but is actually a highly contrived
and ridiculous conspiracy on top of conspiracy plot. This is one of
the those movies that requires you to check your brain in the lobby.
Don't even try to count the implausibilities in Preston Whitmore's
What saves the film is two fine pieces of acting by its stars,
Laurence Fishburne as Piper and Stephen Baldwin as Luke Dodge plus the
excellent performance by Wil Patton as the southern good old boy and
smartest cop of all Matthew Gibson. FLED is needlessly violent as
well, but all of this notwithstanding, I liked the show as did the
audience. A fast paced bit of entertainment that will make you laugh,
sometimes when you are not supposed to, and will pump up your
As the show starts, a witness who is to testify against Frank
Mantajano, the head of the Cuban Mafia, is killed thus causing the
Senate investigating committee to be without its star witness. The
show quickly shifts to a chain gang in Georgia where new convict Dodge
and old hand Piper escape while chained to each other's wrists. Soon
U. S. Marshall Schiller appears out of nowhere and kills another
escapee with his hands up trying to surrender. It seems there are big
conspiracies brewing, and Schiller, among others, is involved. Officer
Gibson is the only one that can see the obvious so he follows the
"good" guys and the bad.
The reason for all of the chasing is that Dodge hacked into the
computer of Brigantine International. This is okay because he
determined that the company was greedy. Moreover he stole $25,000,000
and gave $20,000,000 of it to charity. He explains all of this to
Piper and tells him, "On the Internet my code name is CyberThug."
The show is quite funny. One small thing that is fun is that when
they get in a jam, one will say to the other, "didn't you see" and then
name some movie title as if all knowledge is found in some movie.
Among movies so referenced were: THE GODFATHER, DELIVERANCE, THE
FUGITIVE, and SHAFT.
My favorite character is the wise but unassuming Officer Gibson,
whose accent is so thick you could cut it with a knife. He reminded me
a lot of the pregnant lead detective in FARGO. Gibson advises
Schiller, "I think you are just spitting in the wind, and you know what
they say about spitting in the wind. It may blow back in your face."
The chemistry between the two leads is quite good. I think
Laurence Fishburne is a great talent, and it showed here. Without him,
I don't think they would of had a show, but they do have him and so for
me it worked.
Which scene did the audience like the least? Baldwin's love
making scene! It is so overdone and with such cliches, i.e., done in
front of a roaring fire, that they were laughing at it, and it is not
supposed to be funny. When the Piper and his girlfriend, Cora, well
played by Salma Hayek, have an erotic bread kneading scene, it works
Let me not dwell on this implausibility thing, and rather than get
into the intricate conspiracy maze, let me give two small examples. If
you were being chased by people with big guns and helicopters while you
were chained to a large man who was running with you, would you keep
trying to knock him out and thereby run the risk of having to run while
dragging him? Also, why is all the key data stored one little floppy
and without any duplicate? I could go on, but I will not. I was able
to put my brain in neutral so perhaps you will be able to as well, and
this stuff not bother you.
FLED runs a little over an hour and a half. It will certainly be
an R for sex, nudity, and most of all gory violence of the type where
many people die with large bullet holes and blood spurting everywhere.
It would be probably be okay for teenagers if they are mature. I hated
the story, but I had a good time, laughed some, and liked the acting,
except for pathetic overacting by Schiller and the whole Cuban Mafia
crowd, so I am giving it a thumbs up and rating it ** 1/2.
Copyright © 1996 Steve Rhodes