Black Day, Blue Night (1995)

An average road movie which doesn't do much with a good-ish cast – the two best actors are summarily shot to death at a waterhole a good twenty minutes before the end. Writer-director J.S. Cardone, who has stayed in the game since his video nasty debut in The Slayer, seems to be specialising in the backroads and deserts - this haunts the same highways and byways as his vampire picture The Forsaken - though his plots are always derivative. This is sort of a Thelma and Louise knock-off, though the teaming of bleached blonde Michelle Forbes and waiflike Mia Sara never quite takes fire. Rinda Woolley (Forbes) is having a tryst with Bo Schrag (Tim Guinee) when Bo's abused wife Hallie (Sara) barges in with a gun – and somehow the two women wind up on the road together, pursued by the evil Bo. Drifter-charmer Dodge (Gil Bellows) turns out not to be a fugitive armoured car robber but an entirely innocent record-collector. The real baddie, unsurprisingly, is a rural cop (reliably rotten J.T. Walsh), who is trying to get back the loot from a robbery he committed himself (incidentally murdering his longtime cop partner). Walsh and Forbes take an early bath in one of the many gun-pointing scenes, and the husband has to show up again to be the money-grubbing menace of the finale in which Hallie (Sara does a surprising amount of nudity and has a scorpion swept off her body-double's naked butt) sacrifices herself for love by driving under a train rather than let Bo kill the sympathetic drifter. Michelle Forbes (Kalifornia, Homicide: Life on the Street) really ought to be a major star: she does her usual bold-and-brassy bit, with less sophistication than usual. The script rarely takes fire, but the film has a nice look. With John Beck as the top cop who doesn't show up to figure everything out at the end.
KIM NEWMAN

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