(Review originally written at 19 December 2008)

The Columbo series, starring Peter Falk in his famous role as Lt. Columbo, first started off in 1968 with the movie "Prescription: Murder". Five decades later the first 21th century Columbo movie got released. It's a known fact that all later Columbo movies are not as good- and lack the charm and simplicity of the earlier Columbo movies, from mostly the '70's. Unfortunately this movie also suffers from this.

Like basically every 'weaker' Columbo movie entry, the introduction takes far too long. The movie is only about 98 minutes short but it isn't until about halve an hour into the movie. It of course is only also after that, that Lt. Columbo first shows up.

It's extra disappointing that this movie isn't among the best Columbo entries since it got directed by Patrick McGoohan. He directed more Columbo movies, prior to this one and his movies always had a certain bit of extra style, which made the movies rise above the level of average. He also had some misses in his 'Columbo-directing career' though and this movie is among one of those misses.

Problem is that the story is really not that interesting. It really isn't a very exciting murder-mystery movie to watch. It's way too slowly progressing and besides, the reason why the murder gets committed seemed quite dodgy to me. Come on, why does he kill the boy? Was he really such a big treat to him or his career? He still had his reputation in his advantage after all. Why risk so much? It above all is also a quite poorly executed murder. It's done needlessly complicated and left for too many traces at the same time. That alone is also already a real accomplishment. Yet Lt. Columbo at first doesn't pay attention to the most obvious clues as well (the pieces of glass in the hand, the tox screen, etcetera). Seriously, that's not really Columbo style, now is it.

The movie is about a movie composer, so throughout the movie we see him conducting. It's however quite annoying to see that he's never conducting to the music we hear. I'm not even a musical person but you don't have to be a musical genius to see that his conducting and the music we hear don't mix with each other. This to me was quite annoying. It also was quite annoying to hear the actual music, that obviously come straight of the tape and wasn't being played by the orchestra we see on screen all the time. Sounds nitpicking but those things simply bothered me and also prevented me from taking the entire movie and story serious as a good and professionally made one.

Peter Falk is still in good form as Lt. Columbo in this movie, despite his age. He already was well in his 70's at the time of this production. A real good and clever police man would be enjoying his pension by then. Billy Connolly is also acting nicely but I think he deserved a better script to work with. He does his very best with his character but due to the story you just never get close enough to the character. Richard Riehle also appears in the movie again, who previously starred also in the other previous Patrick McGoohan directed Columbo movie "Columbo: Ashes to Ashes", in the same role.

Not a great 21th century Columbo-entry.


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About Frank Veenstra

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