Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews
- Category: Jacqueline Monahan
- Published on 23 November 2008
- Written by Jacqueline Monahan
Las Vegas Round The Clock - http://www.lasvegasroundtheclock.com
Jacqueline Monahan is an English tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also a consultant for Columbia College Chicago in Adjunct Faculty Affairs
A serial killer with an electronically altered voice and a penchant for facial duct tape stalks several seemingly unrelated people. He is known as RK which stands for Riddle Killer. He likes to blow his victims up in fiery explosions. But first, he likes to taunt them, accuse them of past transgressions, and give them impossibly short windows of time in which to save themselves. He throws in obscure clues and rantings, hence the name.
Jennifer Peters (Justine Waddell) is the police psychologist on the trail of RK. One of his former victims was her brother, paying the price for her insolent crime writing. Unfortunately, she delivers most of her lines, whether asking a question or chasing a suspect, with a flat monotone and expressionless face. All conversation has the urgency of a pizza order – all expression resembles the aftermath of a Botox treatment.
Seminary student Kevin Parson (Marc Blucas) survived a nightmarish childhood, raised by his abusive Aunt Belinda (Pricilla Barnes of, yes, Three’s Company fame). Jack and Janet’s former roommate Teri has become very, very scary. She is campy and disheveled, with makeup that looks like she applied it with a trowel. The artificially deep whiskey voice and prosthetic facial wart can be laughable at times, but you don’t want to laugh at this shipwreck of a woman. Her role in Kevin’s past is a pivotal one.
Kevin’s other family members include a fez wearing simpleton named Uncle Eugene and mentally challenged Cousin Bobby. They refer to Belinda as Princess, and she obligingly wears a tiara. How Kevin emerged from this nut house intact (or did he?) is a mystery in itself. Now RK is after him for a childhood sin he allegedly committed. RK is ruthless, and does not mind blowing up innocent people to get his prey’s attention. Although Kevin saves the passengers on a city bus, his pet Lab is not so lucky.
Kevin’s platonic girlfriend, Samantha Shears (Laura Jordan), appears suddenly after many years, and immediately takes up sleuthing with him, but her luxurious mane of hair is so distracting, I hoped the killer would not take the opportunity to swing her around by it. She is merely window dressing, an insurance agent in way over her head, but propelled by a late-blooming devotion to Kevin.
Kevin himself, is attractive, earnest, and on a path to discover The Nature of Evil, the title of his thesis. This fact alone makes him prime RK bait. He is the most likeable character, the one you would least like to see perish. All of the others inspire a fierce apathy.
Jennifer, Kevin and Sam run down dark corridors escaping bombs and deciphering clues left by RK. It goes something like this: Get a message from RK, run to bomb, try to disarm bomb. Get a message from RK, run to bomb, try to… you get the idea. Explosions have never been so boring.
The plot dissolves into repetitive lunacy, with pseudo-complex psycho babble and conjecture. RK could also stand for Ridiculously Kooky. Events become more and more convoluted, as if the players are all scrambling around a big rat maze with no cheese at the end for their troubles. An abundance of red herrings almost warrant breaking out the cocktail sauce, although I wouldn’t advise taking too big a bite.
There is a twist at the end of the film, which if skillfully done would make you gasp. Instead, it’s more likely to make you groan. If you thought that THR3E alluded to the alliance of Kevin, Sam and Jennifer, you will have to recalculate.
Director Robby Henson and writer Allan McElroy have only a mildly interesting permutation of Ted Dekker’s best-selling novel here. It is not a satisfying path that they lead us on, and only Marc Blucas as the perpetually victimized Jason emerges as somewhat believable in his role. But then, he is offset by such amateurish acting, that he may appear the more competent for it. I was more wrapped up in trying to figure out how many of the cast got chosen than I was in unmasking RK.
A Fox Faith venture, there is no sexual content or profanity. Kevin and Sam are and always have been platonic. Aunt Belinda is safe from any sane man’s attention. Evil is addressed via Kevin’s thesis, and a bible verse holds one of RK’s clues. Confessing sins is a theme that runs through the entire film, although we would not like to think of a God of such vengeance at the helm of the marionette strings.
Thr3e tries hard to be a thriller, but un4tunately ends up on par with one of its many bombs.