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Love to Kill (March 3/99)

Love to Kill starts off aimlessly and gets progressively less coherent as time passes. At the outset, the movie appears to be about Moe (Tony Danza), a gunrunner who is trying to establish a relationship with an unsuspecting woman. Moe sets up a double date with her, her sister, and a colleague of his. Everything seems to be going well, until the sister accidentally dies by falling down a set of stairs. Much confusion and mayhem ensues, as the death is covered up and some of Moe's shady associates begin to emerge out of the woodwork.

Sound confusing? It is. I think what the filmmakers were trying to do is take the standard crime movie and throw in a little hum our and levity. In some respects, it works. But the majority of the film is a convoluted and confusing mess. Characters keep popping up with no explanation, demanding money for deals that occur off-screen. The only aspect of the movie that actually works is the budding relationship between Moe and the dead woman's sister. But so little time is devoted to this part of the story, we never really become too familiar with these characters, and because of this, we don't really care what happens to them.

One thing I will give the movie is that it's a complete departure for Tony Danza. Because of his many sitcom roles, Danza's has become ingrained in the consciousness as a nice guy who always does the right thing. Here, he plays a man who's just looking out for himself, and if that means he needs to kill in order to save his own skin, so be it. I was very impressed by his performance, and within minutes of the start of the film, I had forgotten all about his good-guy persona. Michael Madsen is also good as a thug who spends half the movie buddying up to Moe and the other half trying to kill him. Like I said, it's not exactly a linear storyline.

Love to Kill should be praised for trying to do something different with the well worn crime genre, but it's just too bad that the story doesn't really add up to much.

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