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‘Fair Game’

By Hal Hinson
Washington Post Staff Writer
November 03, 1995


Andrew Sipes
William Baldwin;
Cindy Crawford;
Steven Berkoff;
Christopher McDonald
violence, language and adult situations

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In the annals of show business, "Cindy Acts!" may not rank up there with "Garbo Speaks!" Cindy Crawford makes her motion picture debut in "Fair Game," an empty-headed action-thriller set in New Orleans. But in a sense she is merely expanding the role of pitchwoman extraordinaire that she has cultivated as a fashion model. You've seen her hawk soft drinks and lipstick; now watch her hawk the movie.

Whether Crawford is an actress may be a moot issue. Regardless, she is a star; and in selecting the vehicle for her debut, she wisely chose a role that would emphasize her glorious animal presence over her skills as a performer. Her role is that of an overachieving New Orleans lawyer whose practice, under normal circumstances, is made of fairly mundane civil cases and divorce settlements—certainly nothing that should put her in harm's way. All of a sudden, though, she is being shot at, her house is blown up and she is forced to take cover under the wing of the New Orleans police.

At first, Max (William Baldwin), the detective assigned to the case, doesn't have the slightest clue as to why Kate (Crawford) has been turned into a target. After playing hide-and-seek around New Orleans, he determines that the culprits are a group of ex-KGB agents led by a madman (Steven Berkoff) who plans to link up by computer with the world's great banks and siphon off money from the accounts of his former partners in global terrorism.

Kate is involved because she has been trying to impound the ship that—unbeknown to her—serves as the gang's headquarters. As a result, she must die. However, with Max to help her, Kate turns out to be a tough gal to bring down. The bad guys use their entire arsenal against these two, including shoulder-mounted missiles and the latest in electronics, all to no avail.

Along the way, these superb physical specimens—or their doubles—perform some remarkable stunts (the most spectacular of which is Baldwin's leap from a convertible onto a speeding train), scatter the ground with corpses and run through a seemingly endless supply of fresh, form-fitting T-shirts. Through it all, the stars dirty up beautifully. As a couple, they're like a pair of sleekly muscled thoroughbreds being put through their paces. Even when the movie is crass or ludicrously implausible, which is most of the time, there are worse things than having to watch two of the world's most ravishing creatures dodge bullets and dive for cover.

Unfortunately, that's about all they do. The movie is fast, slick and dumb as a post. It was written, if that's the word, by Charlie Fletcher and directed by Andrew Sipes. Even if Crawford has real acting talent, the picture doesn't give her a chance to express it. She makes the best of what few opportunities she has; she's particularly appealing during the scene in which she wraps a computer nerd around her pinkie by asking, suggestively, if she might "demo your unit."

For the most part, though, Crawford's job here is to supply a strong modern heroine who operates on an equal footing with her male buddy, who plunges into physical action with the same relish and athleticism, yet still looks fabulous in her clothes as she's doing it. Actually, it's a lot like modeling—but with more explosives.

Fair Game is rated R for violence, language and adult situations.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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