Picks and Pans Review: Relentless

updated 09/18/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/18/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Leo Rossi, Judd Nelson

Then there's this generic variation on the serial-killer theme: no frills, no suspense, barely serviceable moviemaking.

Nelson, with a zombielike walk and gobs of circles-under-the-eyes makeup, is the killer, who is operating in Los Angeles. His motivation (domineering ex-cop father) is displayed in misty flashback sequences, and he's such a standard-issue psychopath that he falls for the bait when the cops call him a pervert in the papers.

The best parts of the movie center on Rossi (The Accused), who plays the investigating detective with a countercharismatic touch. A new, dedicated member of the detective unit, Rossi is partnered with Robert Loggia, a tired veteran whose main interest in crime sites is pondering their value as real estate. The high point of their verbal sparring is not when Loggia tells Rossi, "You're a bad influence on me. You're making me give a damn."

Meg Foster plays Rossi's wife with her standard stricken look, and Ron Taylor is a typical tyrant as a chief of detectives. Most of the cast acts with a glassy-eyed absence of passion that might have been predicted for a movie directed by William Lustig, whose big previous credits were Hit List, Vigilante and Maniac Cop. (R)

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