• Fatal Beauty

    Released By: Olive Films
    Released On: April 19, 2016
    Director: Tom Holland
    Cast: Whoopi Goldberg, Sam Elliott, Ruben Blades, Brad Dourif, James Le Gros
    Year: 1987

    The Movie:

    Rita Rizzoli (Whoopi Goldberg) is an undercover cop in L.A., patrolling the crime-ridden streets in working girl attire in an attempt to rid the city of drugs and the scumbags who sell them. Generally regarded as being unorthodox in her tactics, she botches the chance to take out a major player named Delgadillo (Fred Asparagus, best-known as the bartender from Three Amigos) when she abandons the bust to stop a prostitute from being beaten. It looks like crime will indeed pay for Delgadillo until he's murdered in a drug lab hostile takeover by the homicidal Leo Nova (Brad Dourif) and his glass-chewing henchman, Earl.

    Rizzoli has one lead to follow; the fact that the drug lab was in a building owned by Conrad Kroll, a businessman whose recent acquirement of wealth seems to correlate with the sudden influx of a new, very deadly drug called "Fatal Beauty" on the streets of Los Angeles. But with money comes power, and Kroll's connections with some powerful politicians labels him untouchable by Rizzoli's boss. Throwing caution to the wind, Rizzoli drops in on Kroll at his stately manor, drawing the attention of his head of security, Mike (Sam Elliott). When Kroll warns her off of the case, Rizzoli decides that he's definitely involved, and figures that he's pissed about being ripped off by Leo.

    Following the trail of dope leads Rizzoli down some unsavoury paths, to drug dens, machine-gun patrolled skid row alleys, and tennis court-adorned mansions, while the body count continues to rise. And with Leo and Earl gunning for her, she'll have to forge some unlikely relationships to get out alive and put the dealers out of business....for good.

    It's been said that Fatal Beauty was made to cash in on the success of Beverly Hills Cop (even if it was three years later), and it's really not hard to see that as being valid. Taking race right out of the equation, here we have a comedian cop, going up against a rich guy in a mansion...well, really, that's a whole lot of movies...but there IS that Harold Faltermeyer score...well, let's just say that the similarities are there. But on the topic of comedians, most of the writing in Fatal Beauty centers around Whoopi having the opportunity to deliver snappy comebacks to stupid insults, often with no comedic result. That's not the weakest part of the film, though; Whoopi can do something other than comedy, and Sam Elliott is obviously a solid actor, though not quite as accomplished as he would become, but the relationship between the two borders on ridiculous. The writing concerning the relationship is absolute bullshit, and the two have ZERO chemistry. ZERO. It's painful to watch. Yes, the lack of strength in the writing is a real flaw here, on all fronts. When we get Rizzoli's story, her reason for trying to rid the streets of drugs? It's eye-rollingly bad. If you're coming to Fatal Beauty looking for strong characters, or even character development, you best turn around and go out the way you came in.

    What does work for Fatal Beauty is the majority of the direction; Holland's eye for good shots is evident here, and he displays his competence through a number of simple-looking, but somewhat complex shots. He also does a stellar job in directing the action here (he was no slouch in Fright Night, either), which brings up another point; the action is superb. Fatal Beauty works hard for its "R" Rating, though the excessive profanity probably doesn't hurt, and the violence is excessive and bloody. Unfortunately, it's a case of too few and far between, and not even the convincingly psychotic Brad Dourif can save it.


    Olive brings Fatal Beauty to blu-ray in a 1.85:1 AVC-encoded transfer that looks pretty swell. Detail is good, and grain is present without being overwhelming. Blacks are solid, and the colour palette is well-represented preserving the 1980's/Tom Holland film aesthetic that many will find visually pleasing.

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track does an adequate job of presenting the film's dialogue, Harold Faltermeyer score, and sound effects, without succumbing to distortion or other audio issues. Dynamic range is suitable, and the balance is decent overall. Surrounds would've been useful during a few key scenes, but what are you gonna do.

    There are no subtitles provided for this release.

    The lone extra feature on this disc is a Trailer for the film.

    The Final Word:

    A somewhat underwhelming film, Fatal Beauty still manages to find fans, and this Olive blu-ray is a fine, cost-effective way to see it in high definition.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!