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'Glimmer Man': Flash & Dashes

By Richard Harrington
Washington Post Staff Writer
October 05, 1996

Add Steven Seagal and Keenen Ivory Wayans to the list of assault-and-pepper cop couples, though their debut is called "The Glimmer Man," not "The Glimmer Men." Although Seagal is the star, as might be expected in a film produced by Seagal and longtime partner Julius R. Nasso, Wayans proves a solid foil.

As usual, Wayans cracks wise, but less frequently, as Los Angeles detective Jim Campbell, who is investigating a serial killer known as the Family Man because of his penchant for killing Catholic families in heinous purification rituals. After the count reaches eight, an outsider is brought in: Jack Cole (Seagal), a New York detective with a trigger-happy reputation, as well as a mysterious past.

The two cops take to each other like, well, oil and vinegar, particularly when Cole himself becomes a suspect in the case he's investigating. It seems to be raining all the time as the two go about their job, and even when they're inside buildings, those buildings are very, very dark. Somebody's seen "Seven."

Seagal's Cole will be familiar to anyone who's seen his oeuvre: He talks softly and politely until goaded into explosive kung-foolery. His spiritual side is often at odds with his killer instinct, and scriptwriters (Kevin Brodbin this time) load him down with ponderous lines that try to pass for inscrutable.

Wayans has been the action route before with "A Low Down Dirty Shame" (not to mention assorted parodies), and he proves his mettle in several extreme encounters. None of Seagal's fights are fair, of course, and he leaves a trail not unlike that in "Twister." Director John Gray, who usually does Hallmark Hall of Fame tearjerkers, concludes his first action adventure with a hyperactive shootout that owes a lot to John Woo.

The plot of "The Glimmer Man" involves not only the Family Man but Our Evil Secret Government, the Russian Mafia and Rich Powerful Politicians -- the three stooges of action cinema in the '90s.

The Glimmer Man is rated R for violence, gore, language and nudity.

© Copyright 1996 The Washington Post Company

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