VR5 – Striking Distance – tape 2117

First on this tape, VR5 and an episode called Dr Strangechild. Sydney has to get into the mind of a programmer who is holding a company to ransom. Naturally, in VR land she’s wearing something slinky.

Oh look, it’s Gollum.

I might have zoned out a bit during this. I thing they found the culprit, a boy genius, who objected to the company making a weapon, I think.

After this, recording continues for a short time with the start of an episode of Cops.

Then, recording switches to later in the evening and the Movie Channel, for Striking Distance. It’s directed by Rowdy Herrington, who made the seminal Road House, and it stars Bruce Willis, so we can’t go wrong.

It starts with Willis and father John Mahoney, on their way to an official dinner when they get caught up in a pursuit, where Mahoney is killed by the driver, who’s probably the Polish Hills killer, a serial killer on the prowl.

A drifter is arrested for the murders, and convicted, but Willis is convined the killer is a policeman.

At the same time, Willis has testified against his partner in a police brutality case, and the day of sentencing, his partner throws himself off a bridge rather than go to jail. He’s played by Robert Pastorelli.

This makes Willis’ life awkward because his Captain is his partner’s father (Dennis Farina)

and his brother is his best friend (Tom Sizemore)

Adding to the family dynamic is Tom Atkins as Willis’ uncle

Now, going purely by the casting, any of these could be the mysterious killer. For that matter, it could also be Brion James, the detective on the Polish Hills killer case, who pushed to convict the drifter against Willis’ strong complaints that the killer was actually a policeman.

That’s a big rogues gallery of possible bad guys. And you know it’s probably one of them because of Willis’ certainty he a cop.

Two years later and Willis has been bumped to the River police, where his boss is Timothy Busfield, in annoying mode (as opposed to his charming mode in The West Wing or thirtysomething).

He’s given a new partner, Sarah Jessica Parker. Naturally Bruce is skeptical at having a woman for a partner.

Willis is still obsessing about the Polish Hills killer, and the killer hasn’t forgotten him, as he gets a call from him with another victim. The killer is toying with him.

Andre Braugher is an internal affairs investigator worried about Willis’ obsession with the case. He looks really young here.

Willis and Parker spot a man dumping what looks like a body into the river, take chase, and the car they’re chasing crashes and burns, but the driver gets away. And the body is a rug.

Willis and Parker get romantically involved, and he tells her why he’s obsessed with the Polish Hills killer – all the women killed are women he’s known.

The police call an internal affairs review of Willis, and Parker is called to the stand by Braugher to reveal that she’s actually an internal affairs cop, undercover, investigating him. But her testimony on the stand exonerates him, so she’s obviously on his side.

As you might expect, Parker gets taken by the killer, and we get to a reveal of the killer’s identity – it’s Willis’ supposedly dead partner. There’s a chase, and ludicrous final fight underwater, where the killer comes back from the dead at least twice, before he’s finally stopped by Willis. And he and Parker live happily ever after.

It’s no Road House, I have to be honest.

After this, recording continues with a Doris Day movie, The Ballad of Josie, and the tape ends after just over an hour of that.

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4 comments

  1. “Who’s the best cop now?” indeed… (the best thing about this movie when I saw it on ITV2 a few years back was the end credits being left uncut.)

    “Willis and Parker get romantically involved, and he tells her why he’s obsessed with the Polish Hills killer – all the women killed are women he’s known.” And remarkably she doesn’t say “Screw that!” and break it off immediately. Interesting how this post comes after one about “Cracker,” since Robert Pastorelli starred in the US version.

  2. Striking Distance is one of those films where it’s amazing it reached the screen at all, there were so many people pulling it in different directions – Willis was determined to make it a wisecracking comedy it seems, with himself getting all the best lines, and he went in the huff when he didn’t get his way. It pretty much ruined Rowdy’s career, he never bounced back from it. Oh, and it flopped anyway.

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