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Betrayal
cast: Erika Eleniak, Adam Baldwin, Julie Du Page, James Remar, and Louis Mandylor

director: Mark L. Lester

87 minutes (15) 2003 Mosaic VHS rental
Also available to rent on DVD
[released 15 March]

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Steven Hampton
Basically a road movie, this new offering from prolific Mark L. Lester (maker of Truck Stop Women, Stunts, Class Of 1984, Firestarter, Commando, Armed And Dangerous, Showdown In Little Tokyo, The Ex, Hitman's Run, Blowback, Guilty As Charged) is the second of three films he's directed in the last couple of years.
   Following the kidnapping thriller Stealing Candy, and before underrated drugs-related conspiracy adventure White Rush (starring Judd Nelson), Betrayal (aka: Lady Jayne: Killer) stars former Playboy playmate and BayWatch TV babe Erika Eleniak (Under Siege, Chasers, Bordello Of Blood) as Emily, a single mother with mortgage and teenage son problems. Professional assassin Jayne (Julie Du Page, Cradle 2 The Grave) is on the run from mobsters after stealing a million dollars of mafia cash. Undercover FBI agent Alex (James Remar - Blowback, Guilty As Charged) is on Jayne's trail because she killed his partner. Adam Baldwin plays crooked cop Stan, working for L.A. gangster Frank (Louis Mandylor, the star of White Rush). All these characters are involved in varied acts of betrayal, whether moral, public, criminal or domestic, with premeditated intent or opportunistic advantage. Trust is nowhere to be found here - not when there's an attaché case full of money to be had...
   Frank sends hulking mafia goons out to catch the fugitive Jayne, and so she's forced to hitch a ride out of the state with Emily, and son Kerry (blond Jeremy Lelliott), but their journey ends with car trouble at a low-rent motel. Jayne's big shootout with the mob henchmen leads to Emily being kidnapped, and a frantic search for the missing Kerry, who's run off with all the loot. Back in Los Angeles, another gunfight kills off a couple of the supporting cast, and then the principals meet up for a showdown at the same industrial location that director Lester used for the climactic scenes of White Rush.
   Betrayal is a hodgepodge of sub-noir and action thriller clichés that only just works. In the 1990s, we'd have readily labelled this as direct-to-video fodder, but with the arrival of DVD as 21st century's rental standard, I guess straight-to-disc is the obvious term for Lester's middling grade of cinema bypass stuff. It may not be 'great' entertainment but it does keep the American film industry ticking over nicely, while everyone waits for the next generic blockbuster. There are no cheesy glamour shots of shapely Eleniak (she's playing the tough cookie Mom, okay?), as nowadays she leaves the stripping routines to newcomers - like French TV starlet Du Page, who looks absolutely stunning in her clingy red dress, or less.
   As a long-time follower of Lester's career, I can tell you with fanboy authority that Betrayal is a long way from his best work, but it's nearly average as this sort of thing goes.
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