In what starts off as a dark and gritty crime thriller in the same vein as SE7EN, BLACK ROSE quickly going into quirky, buddy cop territory that muddles the impact that the first scene seems to skillfully set the entire film up for. While the production quality is high, the film fails to deliver anything more than a slightly-below-average Arnold Schwarzenegger film, but at least a slightly-below-average Arnold Schwarzenegger film boasts the Governator in all of his cheesy glory.
Directed (and lead) by Alexander Nevsky, the film also stars Kristanna Loken and Robert Davi as his partner and American chief of police (in that order). While Loken and Davi deliver fine performances, Nevsky seems a bit lost at times. His performance seemed very uninspired, and I couldn't shake the feeling that I had already seen it a few times before. I understand the need to want to branch out and challenge oneself, which is what I'm assuming Nevsky was attempting to do with both directing and starring in this film, but it seemed like a very safe bet and it didn't quite work out for him.
The direction of the film also felt very uninspired. Almost every scene is spliced together with gratuitous shots of famous Los Angeles landmarks that feel more at home in an episode of "Melrose Place" than a thriller film. As I've already mentioned, the film opens with a scene heavily based in the horror genre, yet when we are introduced to our hero, it quickly changes into a typical buddy cop film, complete with hard rock soundtrack to set the "bad ass" mood. I just wasn't all that impressed and it left me feeling more confused than anything.
All the production quality in the world can only do so much and I just can't quite get behind a film like BLACK ROSE. While the film wasn't entirely awful, I can't help but focus on the fact that the film was not only directed by Kuritsyn, but it also starred him, and that causes me to look at it in a different light. I don't know if he bit off more than he can chew or if this is just the best he has to offer, but it just ended up feeling like a light weight Arnold Schwarzenegger film, but without the fun one-liners.
BLACK ROSE will be in select theaters on April 28th and available on VOD and DVD on May 2nd