D.O.A. (1988)

Annabel Jankel & Rocky Morton direct Dennis Quad, Meg Ryan and Charlotte Rampling in this remake of a noir classic where a bum professor is poisoned and has 24 hours to uncover his killer or die trying.

Whichever version of D.O.A. you watch, you are watching, in my my opinion, the best one line plot hook for a movie ever. Doomed man races against clock to find killer. This doesn’t have enough focus or thrills to fully exploit that goldmine. It is an exercise in style from the makers of Max Headroom and the Super Mario Bros flop. So the mystery elements are obvious, the killer guessable, the deaths superfluous, the red herrings blatant and the action chaotic… near-parodic. You get not quite enough Meg Ryan in the good girl role. Quaid is a bit too All-American and manly to sell the paranoia and desperation his character should ooze as the noose tightens and the clock runs out. It looks wonderful though and that plot is a doozy. You can’t really fuck it up. Bonus point for being an accidental Christmas Movie chosen by luck on Christmas Eve as it seemed a universal, inoffensive choice and was the Goldilocks correct running time for our plans. It isn’t ever going to threaten Die Hard or Lethal Weapon as the alternative Yuletide 1980s choice but it eggnogged the early evening colourfully with its low grade death and mayhem.

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