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Review Jack's Back (1988): Flawed but pretty good!

genre: mystery, thriller, horror, crime

I could have sworn I already had written a review for this film. But I guess I always intended to and then forgot to. Better late than never I always say!

You might have guessed that the title refers to Jack the Ripper. A 100 years later some copycat serial killer is committing murders exactly the same way as Jack the Ripper did. If that premise isn't compelling on it's own another element is added on top. I admit it's a bit far fetched but one that is quite effective. Now I could reveal what that is, then again in this case the least you know the better it is. It really will enhance events considerably. Basically this element works because of James Spader and his acting abilities. Actually I have to commend the whole cast for taking the material serious. Except maybe Robert Picardo as Dr. Carlos Battera. I am not sure if he understood that he wasn't in a comedy. He plays his role like he is in a spoof where he adds something goofy to his serious mannerisms. I think it's the way he delivers his lines. Picardo is a very good actor and I am sure he would play his part the correct way had he been properly informed. It could very well be that director Rowdy Herrington was a little inept in explaining his vision to Robert Picardo. 

Jack' Back in my opinion is very gialloesque. The film oozes style and cool cinematography. You are left in the dark pretty much until the very end and it's filled with red herrings and misdirection. Some of these miss the mark completely but it's always good when you are left with many potential candidates to be the killer instead of being blatantly obvious. I do feel that the film is either heavily cut or it's production was rushed since a very essential element, namely the murders themselves are hardly shown. Perhaps this was a budget thing and they never intended to show these in the first place. The film certainly doesn't spare you with showing you all of the blood and gore they did have money for. 

Overall Jack's Back is a pretty creative whodunnit that does more right than wrong. Certainly a must watch for fans of the genre.

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