Main cast: Ray Liotta (Detective Jack Verdon), Michael Rodrick (John Lee), Giselle Fraga (Ana Verdon), Sarah Ann Schultz (Jenny Tate), Raymond J Barry (Trent Verdon), Christian Slater (FBI Agent Vukovich), Melora Walters (Agent Glover), and Ving Rhames (Captain Langley)
Director: Rich Cowan
The plot of the thriller The River Murders is simple: the women that Detective Jack Verdon had slept with are showing up dead one by one, and he is soon a prime suspect. Taken off the case, he decides to still pursue the investigation, since there’s a certainty that his wife Ana’s life is in danger. What he discovers will shock him.
What could have been a straightforward police procedural flick is marred by a script that is pretty unbelievable. Plot twists arise more from coincidences than anything else, and I find it hard to believe that the women who had slept with Jack, even once, will know of each other well enough for the killer to extract the identity of his next target from them.
Actually, the most mystifying aspect of this movie is how Ray Liotta is expected to play convincingly a man who’d as many female friends with benefits as Jack. Mr Liotta looks like he hadn’t hit the gym in ages, his face is pock-marked, and he generally looks like someone who’d just been released from rehab. I feel that Michael Rorick, who plays the killer, would have looked more the part as Jack – at least he is easier on the eyes. Even Christian Slater would fit the role better.
Speaking of Mr Slater, he and Ving Rhames actually play small roles despite their names sharing top billing with Mr Liotta. I guess the people marketing this movie really need “big names” to sell the flick very badly, and even then, I’m hard pressed to remember when was the last time these two men headlined a blockbuster flick.
Back to the movie, there are some amusing train wreck moments to be had as it hurtles into a hilarious denouement that portrays pro-choice people as lunatic terrorists even as it also condemns promiscuity and abortion. Everyone has a chance to be offended by this movie – it’s democratic that way.
Still, there is actually little to recommend The River Murders. Slow, meandering, implausible, and dull, it also has Mr Liotta acting without any emotion crossing his face. This one is most likely going to show up one day on late night cable TV as a pointless schedule filler, because that’s all it is at the end of the day.