(Review originally written at 24 September 2008)

I sort of liked this Columbo movie its atmosphere, which was real thriller like and its approach even at times reminded me of film-noir, in the movie its first 30 minutes or so. It's really nice and done in a good old fashioned way, with the right camera angles and use of light. It doesn't mean instantly that this movie is a brilliant one though but its solid enough to consider this a good late Columbo movie entry. It's definitely a better movie than the average 'later' Columbo movie entry.

26 years after his previous Columbo movie appearance, George Hamilton returns once again to play the main lead opposite Peter Falk, again as the murderer, in a total different and new role of course. I liked him in his role and he was a good Columbo 'villain', who gave the good old Lieutenant some good competition. They had some nice sequences together. Problem with the 'modern' new Columbo movies always sort of had been that it didn't feature a good well known actor opposite Peter Falk. This movie obviously doesn't suffer from this problem. But I must say though that this movie doesn't feature Peter Falk at this best. He has certainly played the character better and his performance isn't quite consistent enough within this movie, which is probably also due to he movie its director Daryl Duke, who also directed the really dreadful movie "Tai-Pan", among many other projects.

It has a rather good and enjoyable story but the fact that the same sort of plot to cover up the murder had been used before in an earlier Columbo movie also doesn't help of course. It got used before in the 1975 movie "Columbo: Playback". Nevertheless it of course also still has plenty enough 'original' moments of its own with its story, even though of course in essence every Columbo movie is more or less the same. But oh well, that is what made the Columbo series so great and consistent. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

It also is true that within this movie more clues than usual are left out for the Lieutenant, which doesn't mean that the movie its murderer is more stupid or sloppy but I more see it as the writers being more overly enthusiastic than others. It doesn't make the movie or story bad and it in fact perhaps even makes it more enjoyable, to see Columbo hard at work and discovering all kind of small but important clues. Luckily the movie is also filled with some enjoyable effective relieving Columbo-comedy.

Simply a good late Columbo movie entry.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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