Picks and Pans Review: Deadly Surveillance

updated 09/09/1991 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/09/1991 01:00AM

Showtime (Fri., Sept. 6, 9 P.M. ET)

C-

Right from the start, the movie's attempt to strike a smartass ironic tone rings false. A burglar, caught in flagrante delicto, begins complaining about medical bills. "Doctors, they're the real thieves," he says glibly with a policeman's pistol jammed in either ear.

One of those cops is Michael (Total Recall) Ironside. When he finds a stash of heroin at the crime scene, he plants listening devices in the apartment, which it turns out is inhabited by the beautiful girlfriend (Susan Almgren) of Ironside's former partner (Christopher Bondy).

Movies about surveillance are always tedious, both for the staker-outers in the plot and us, the viewers (the exception being Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation). This dud, directed by Paul Ziller, never accrues any tension or momentum and in the process wastes Ironside's pungently scruffy performance.

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