(Review originally written at 11 September 2008)

The movie is directed by James Frawley. His Columbo movies weren't among the fastest going ones but they always were among the more stylish ones. He directed the movies with lots of class and he is among my favorite Columbo movie directors. Throughout his career he directed a total of 6 Columbo movies, evenly divided between the '80's and '70's. The also always had a certain amount of fun written over it, in a quirky kind of way, this movie included. The humor always has been one of the great things about the Columbo-series and James Frawley was a person who always seemed to got it right. This was an entertaining movie in parts but I just did not have as much fun watching it as I do watching other Columbo movies.

In this case the movie its pace isn't a great thing about the movie. It takes a long while for Lt. Columbo to enter the picture, which normally is an indication that the movie itself also isn't going to be among the best the long running Columbo series has to offer. The movie is a lot of talk but not enough action. Not enough is ever happening in this movie and the movie gets stuck in its pace.

Combined with this gets the fact that this movie doesn't feature the best Columbo 'villain'. Fisher Stevens also isn't exactly the best known or most perfect person imaginable to play the part. The movie really features some bad casting and the movie was lacking a good and well known actor playing opposite Peter Falk. None of the '80's Columbo movies feature any big stars opposite Peter Falk in it. They obviously were trying to head into a new direction with the series, after it had stopped in 1978 and got re-launched in 1989. It's a reason why the 'later' Columbo movies mostly aren't as good as the beginning of the series, during the '60's and '70's.

The story has a good concept though, although it's perhaps not as well written or clever as it could had been. It still has a great ending though. The movie is set entirely at the Universal studios. It wasn't the first Columbo movie that got set at the Universial studios though. Universal was of course also the distributor of the Columbo movies, so they had no hard time getting permission to film on the lot.

A slightly below average 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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