Director – Joseph Ruben (The Stepfather, Dreamscape)
Starring – James Woods (VideoDrome, John Carpenter’s Vampires), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, The Avengers), and Margaret Colin (Independence Day, The Devil’s Own)
Release Date – 1989
Rating – 3.5/5
Blu Release – 3/5
Tagline – “The only good fight is the one you win”
I’ve watched a so many blaxploitation flicks the last couple of nights so I decided to mix it up a bit. Recently, Mill Creek Entertainment has released several more VHS slipcase blus of some of their previously released films. Several of these releases are in my to do pile but there was one I really wanted to revisit. A few years back I reviewed a box set that included the court room drama True Believer and I couldn’t help myself. I had to revisit it.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows former civil rights attorney Eddie Dobbs (Woods) and his protégé Roger Baron (Downey Jr,) who fight for the lowlifes and drug dealers of the city when he is visited by the mother of a prisoner who just killed a man in self defense. When they start investigating the murder they learn that they will lose if they pursue that angle and decide to clear the man of the murder charges he was convicted of eight years earlier. What they did not suspect is to find a web of lies and conspiracy involving the suspect and the district attorney. **Spoiler Alert**
I’m not much on court room dramas. They typically bore the shit out of me and the stories have been done out. Most involve a hidden conspiracy involving entangled lovers, drugs, the government, and even Cold War espionage. With that being said, the cast of True Believer really sold me on the film and I am honestly glad that I check it out.
The acting in this one is first class. James Woods absolutely kills with his performance as Eddie Dobbs. He has yet to let me down with a performance and once again delivers. His co-star, RDJ, does a great job as well. He doesn’t go above and beyond like his roles in Sherlock Holmes and Back to School but he still kills it. The supporting cast does a tremendous job as well. They don’t stand out but they still deliver solid performances.
The story for this one was a lot more thought provoking than the day time shows that most associate to court room dramas. My wife is an avid Law and Order fan so I have suffered through more episodes than I care to count. They are always predictable and you can see the plot twist coming from a mile away. True Believer continuously tossed in twists and turns that I did not see coming. The conspiracy angle did catch me off guard but I should have seen it coming. This was a well written and well paced drama.
Finally, this one does have a little bit of blood shed but horror fans will not be satisfied by it. The effects for the few gags we see are decent but they viewer doesn’t get to see the full effect due to the way in which the scene was shot. Overall, True Believer is one of the few dramas that I really enjoyed. The acting is top notch and the story is well put together. Check this one out.