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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Retro Review: Knight Moves (1992)

Knight Moves
Cast: Christopher Lambert, Diane Lane, Tom Skerritt, Daniel Baldwin
Genre: Thriller
U.S Box Office Gross: over $923,000

Plot: A chess tournament champion becomes a prime suspect in a murder case & has to beat the murderer at his own game to stop the killings, as well as clear his name

'Moves Less Like A Knight, & Far Less Than Mick Jagger'

Knight Moves concerns a chess player who is accused of and linked to murdering several women, whilst taking part in a chess tournament. Two detectives are on the case, sifting through the clues and keeping their beady eyes on Peter Sandersen who maintains his innocence throughout. Alongside the cops is a female psychologist who ends up falling for Peter.

With the screenplay by Brad Mirman who gave you the erotic bomb that is Body of Evidence starring Madonna and Willem Dafoe and production values that are of the TV movie quality, the German- American based, Knight Moves is another one of those thriller types that could have easily had a cast of unknown actors to match the low-budget feel, although in names like Diane Lane, Christopher Lambert, Tom Skerritt and Daniel Baldwin they are hardly household names. Lane isn't one of the strongest performers, although she fared ok and she shares an intimate sex scene with her then- hubby, Lambert: both of whom were a couple in real life at the time. However, her motivations and reasons for sleeping with Peter are not made clear, whilst Baldwin probably gave the stronger performance out of the main cast as the cop partner to Tom Skerritt. 

The kills themselves lack in the way of conviction, threat and menace, the reveal of the killer isn't too surprising and there isn't much in the way of grisly and gory, bloody killings (we just see the bodies of the female victims wrapped in a sheet and looking like The Joker of Batman with smeared lipstick over their mouths), and much like with 1995's Copycat, Knight Moves opens up with a sequence involving the killer. Interestingly, it performed better at the German box office than it did in the U.S and watching this, it does have a slightly European feel going for it and Knight Moves was heavily edited down to over 10 mins.

This isn't one of the best serial killer based thrillers I've seen; especially as 1995's Copycat, which had a similar premise, did it far better as it had a more compelling screenplay, better chemistry of leads and that Knight Moves ends terribly and so abruptly with no proper resolution, which explains why 10 mins of additional footage were cut.

Final Verdict:

A heavily cliched thriller that tries to be clever and sleek turns out to be a cheap, straight-to-DVD knock-off that it descends into tedium with the investigations into the serial killings not delved deep enough. Not even the chess thing, which exists as nothing more than as a gimmick and supposedly as a plot device as well, can elevate it into an overly decent psychological thriller. 

It tries so hard to be something unique and to stand out from the millions of other films of this type, but alas, Knight Moves is lacklustre stuff. 

Check, mate.


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