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cast: John Ritter, Eric Roberts, Rachel Hunter

writer and director: Serge Rodnunsky

89 minutes (15) 2000
Prism Leisure DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 2/10
reviewed by John Percival
Tripfall is the story of wealthy oil executive Tom Williams (John Ritter), on vacation in California with his wife Gina (Rachel Hunter) and their two kids. Everything is generally fine as Tom and Gina work out a couple of marital problems. However the holiday turns bad, when the family are targeted by a gang of murdering thieves, intent of reliving Tom of his $1.2 million fortune. The plot sounds fairly interesting; unfortunately the resulting film is not even close. In fact it is an embarrassing shambolic mess that not even the familiar C-list actors in the cast appear to care about.

Case in point is chief bad guy, Mr Eddie (Eric Roberts), a psycho serial killer from the American Deep South. However Mr Eddie wears dungarees, aviator shades and short hair in tiny plaits like pretend dreadlocks. Also his accent is ridiculous, sounding like a Louisana Lilly Savage, the whole package is about as menacing as Spongebob. The late John Ritter appears to be the most unchallenged, playing the family man stereotype, he has no real depth and the performance is both lazy and unconvincing. He and his family are in mortal danger and yet he ignores even the most obvious avenues of escape. Rachel Hunter's offering as Gina is surprisingly amateurish and she fails to add even an ounce of much need glamour to proceedings. As if things did not need to be any worse, the quality and style of the filming is also pretty bad. The film is grainy and washed out making the familiar BayWatch-esque coastline look dull. There is also no artistic vision behind the camera instead opting from purely functional shots. Sadly there is little to add life to the limp script. It is painfully obvious that the budget was poor, that much is obvious from the director having written and produced this effort as well. However much more has been done with much less so many times before and it is amazing that something like this can be made.

There is just so much wrong with the film it defies belief, for one thing John Ritter and Rachel Hunter being married. Next why does an American with a $1.2 million dollar fortune go on a cheap family holiday and stay at the same hotel as the rednecks? Tripfall is much less the thriller it is touted to be and more a exercise in the suspension of disbelief, just how much improbability can you take before turning this off, especially when it is all served up in such a bland way it is very tempting.

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