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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Retro Review: Color of Night (1994) #badmovies

Color of Night
Cast: Bruce Willis, Jane March, Lance Henrikson, Scott Bakula, Ruben Blades
Genre: Erotic Thriller
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $19 million 

Plot: Haunted by the bizarre suicide of a patient, New York psychologist Dr Bill Capa abandons his successful practice and relocates to L.A. But his encounters there prove as shocking as the chilling event he has run away from, & he immediately finds himself entangled in an explosive sexual relationship with a beautiful but enigmatic woman named Rose, and the investigation into the brutal stabbing murder of a friend and a colleague, Dr Bob Moore. A Moth drawn to a flame, Dr Capa is lured to Rose by his sexual cravings, and he discovers this woman has the power to fulfil his most reckless erotic fantasies.

'Color Of Fright'

Back in the 1990s, softcore porn actress Jane March made her titillating debut in The Lover, wherein which the film's notoriety acted as a springboard to the next phase of her career. After this clunker, whereas Bruce Willis all but well redeemed himself and he went on to have a long career as an action star, March meanwhile, saw hers decimated and that any chance of impending success went awry. Although as he was coming off the back of Pulp Fiction, one must wonder how an actor like Bruce Willis, known for greats such as Die Hard 1 and 2, chooses to associate himself with a film like this. 

Just like with Basic Instinct, this diabolical offering, Color of Night was hot on the heels of the Paul Verhoeven-directed effort and a further attempt at the erotic thriller flourishing outside of the Z-list, straight- to- DVD/video market. Well, supposedly anyway that even with Jane March and Bruce Willis, this still has straight- to- DVD written all over it. 

The story behind this film is something to behold; when Color of Night came out in 1994, audiences were starting to get fed up with erotic thrillers and opted for other genres of movies. Then, there were reports that the MPAA had to cut out/censor the full frontal shots of Bruce Willis's penis, as well as other scenes of hardcore sex for it to be released in the U.S with an R rating. Even more, to behold, two fans who met Bruce Willis in the street, demanded their money back, after sitting through this clunker. 

Bruce Willis is a psychiatrist, Dr Bill Capa, who after witnessing a patient committing suicide, as a result of him telling her off, loses his faith in analysis and travels to L.A and falls for a patient named Rose, played by Jane March. The writers even threw in a silly plot device where Capa is unable to see the colour Red. The plot kind of reminds me a little of Final Analysis with Richard Gere and Kim Basinger, which was released 2 years prior to this one, only it had fewer sex scenes and the writing was as bad as Color of Night. No actually, the writing in this film is far worse with even crappier performances to go with it. 

This cat-&-mouse film tries to be softcore porn, an erotic thriller and a psychological who-dun-it murder mystery, yet it spectacularly fails in all three. It even tries to emulate Basic Instinct and going even further down the line with the sex scenes between Bruce Willis and Jane March by making them more raunchy. Whilst every member of the group goes to lengths to prove they are bonkers than the rest, Color of Night just fails to have anything remotely taxing, interesting or exciting that makes the story credible and worthwhile. It also fails to make sense as to why Capa wants redemption on his part, more than anyone.  

Color of Night is one of the silliest films I've seen, whose notoriety is made even worse by the fact that the writer/s and directors and the cast who were involved thought they were being clever. If this movie hadn't been taken so seriously and marketed as a drama thriller, it would have made the grade as a comedy. Because it is so horrible, it's laughable. The gratuitous sex and nudity did not lend themselves to the plot and story because it was.... bad. Speaking of which, they are so contrived, and just like Basic Instinct, the plot is forgettable, but at the same time nonsensical; now if this film had unknowns in place of Willis and March or the likes of Shannon Tweed this wouldn't be much of an issue. 

Willis put in his worst performance of his career, whilst March is excruciatingly beyond woeful and her acting was just the pits. 

The graphic sex scenes were embarrassingly awful, and they weren't the least bit raunchy or erotic, whatsoever. In fact, they were as erotic as watching two dogs going at it with one another; I was bored out of my mind as my eyes were glued to the screen as I watched those two humping each other, whilst naked. In one weird sex scene, with Bill and Rose in a bathtub together, he's driving a remote-controlled toy tank over her breasts. I was like ''err... okay...''. The acting is beyond terrible and yet comical at the same time, and the dialogue is painfully bad. The characters are not engaging and lack characterisation throughout. Rose may be a titillating character for many guys, thanks to Jane March, but here she just passes as normal, although frankly, I didn't care much for her. 

It's so terrible it doesn't even qualify as a guilty pleasure for me because there is next to nothing I enjoyed about this film. Showgirls was a guilty pleasure because it was entertaining and watchable, Stripped to Kill was a guilty pleasure because I genuinely liked the performances and the main characters. 

I, however, can't say the same thing for Color of Night. 

Final Verdict:

This whole film is lifeless and flat, although to be frank, Basic Instinct's success had a lot to do with it, and had that film bombed at the box office, the likes of this effort will be mostly relegated to adult DVD stores, instead of Hollywood mainstream status and in cinemas and movie theatres. 

The main thing this film will be remembered for is the sex scenes. Oh and Bruce Willis's exposed todger (i.e. penis) floating in a swimming pool. Dumb story, dumb plot for a so-called erotic thriller, with an execution that is more trashy than erotic & plus, it delivers little in the thrills and mystery. 

Color of Night is not only colour-less but as a straight-up erotic thriller, it is thrill-less and did not have me on the edge of my seat. As the film progresses, it gets even worse and I wanted Rose to be the killer, as I disliked that character as much as well, every other character. 

This is a below mediocre noir-like erotic thriller that doesn't wash with me. Needless to say, it's truly terrible and so goofy in every single aspect. 


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