Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Deadly Pursuits (1996) - Competent Production, No Surprises, Belzer Shines

Tori Spelling's Hotness is Why You Want to Watch "Deadly Pursuits"

DVD cover Deadly Pursuits 1996

"Deadly Pursuits" (1996) is a Lifetime crime drama, directed by Felix Enriquez Alcala, starring Tori Spelling, then riding high as the star of the popular television series "Beverly Hills 90210." Clearly, Spelling simply moved over from one set to another during a break in filming of her tv series, so "Deadly Pursuits" will seem awfully familiar to her fans. Everybody speaks with that sedated tone so familiar from television series of the time, and the cast is packed with television bit players from other television shows.

Tori Spelling Deadly Pursuits 1996
Tori Spelling plays Meredith.

While Tori Spelling calmly carries this pedestrian tv movie about a former stripper, "Meredith," who befriends a son searching for his father (who may be involved with, as one character puts it, "very bad people"), Richard Belzer leaps out and steals "Deadly Pursuits" from under her oft-displayed abs. Belzer plays the heavy in an understated, but nicely shaded, departure from his recurring role as a detective on what seems like dozens of different shows. It turns out that Meredith is deeply in debt to the mob, and it wants to get paid. Imagine that.

Deadly Pursuits 1996 Richard Belzer

Of course, few are going to tune in to an old cable tv movie to see Richard Belzer, fine an actor as he is. You had better be a fan of Ms. Spelling, or at least find something interesting about her, to be willing to sit through "Deadly Pursuits." Spelling does a better job than you might expect, but the glossy look, her out-of-character high-fashion outfits, and the clean, preppy surroundings kept at least this viewer half-expecting that Jason Priestley or Jennie Garth would pop in for a bite at that 90210 diner. They could have found someone more lively than Patrick Muldoon to play the son, but that would have have ruined the mid-90s reunion feel: the leads are all from other shows of that period, when Melrose Place, Family Matters, Homicide and the like ruled the airwaves. Everybody walks around in that laid-back half-daze that characterized so many shows then.

Tori Spelling holding a gun Deadly Pursuits 1996

For the observant, or merely bored: watch for Ms. Spelling flailing her arms wildly while walking down the street briskly to hail a cab. Now that's acting! It's also the liveliest moment in this dull production. However, if you are a fan of Tori Spelling, who really is a very attractive woman despite her somewhat affected attitude at times, "Deadly Pursuits" is worth watching.

Below is the trailer for 'Deadly Pursuits."


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