88 Minutes (2007?) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)


I suppose that I'm going to give this routine movie far more coverage than I should. There are two reasons for this.

First, it represents an unfortunate milestone in the career of Al Pacino. Although he has made worse movies (Gigli comes to mind), this will mark his first film to go straight to video. According to MSN Brazil, the film is already available for pre-order on a full-screen DVD in that country, with a street date of February 14th.

Second, there is almost no online information available about this film, and what is available is inaccurate! For example, this site has a detailed summary, which bears only a passing resemblance to the actual film as seen in the current DVD screener.

The discrepancy between the two versions can be explained either by re-shoots or by the fact that the Soray site based its review on a script rather than a screening. I can't say. I do know that there were some re-shoots. The shoot was slated to begin in August, 2004 with a budget in the $20s. I'm not sure whether they started on time, but the original filming was completed in December of 2005, when the film was assigned a tentative theatrical release date of October, 2006. It was screened for Warner execs in August of 2006. I'm not sure why the decisions were made, but the theatrical release was then cancelled or postponed and the cast was called back for re-shooting in October of 2006.

In the following comparison of the two versions, I have assumed that the author from the Soray Intercine site really did see an earlier cut of the film and summarized it accurately, but I do not know that to be the case, nor do I do not know whether that site is reliable, nor when the author saw the film, if at all. The existing film still does include strong traces of the version he describes, but those don't have to be derived from earlier footage. They may simply be vestiges of an early draft of the script.

I have tried to avoid spoiling the current plot, so I've restricted my comments to explanations of what does NOT occur rather than what does. Despite my efforts, there are some elements which get "spoiled" by my comments about the script revisions. You'll still have to figure out whether Pacino himself was involved in the recent killings, and you'll still have to figure out who is threatening to kill him in 88 minutes.


The site's summary.

The current version


Star witness JACK GRAMM wakes up after a one-night stand with defense attorney SUSAN COPELAND.

Jack wakes up next to a woman named Sara Pollard. She is not a defense attorney. In fact, she is a professional escort who later becomes a key element in an attempt to frame Jack for murder. The apartment was filled with law books, probably from 2005 footage shot for the earlier version, so Pacino says, "I thought you said you weren't a lawyer." She replies, "I'm not, YET."
As JACK leaves her apartment, ANDREW TURK watches JACK's movements. No change in the action, but the character of Andrew Turk is now called Guy LaForge. There doesn't seem to be any good reason to change the names of Copeland and Turk to Pollard and LaForge.


On his way to class, JACK's told by FBI man FRANK PIERCE that there's a copycat murderer imitating JON FORSTER, a killer who was put on death row with the help of JACK's testimony. JON asks JACK to look at crime scene photos, and although reluctant, he agrees.


This has not changed.
On Columbia's campus, where JACK is a teacher, several students, including LAURA DOUGLAS confront JACK over his failing them in his class. After LAURA flirts with him, JACK offers all of them a chance to make up the grade. LAURA gives him her home address. JACK then runs into KIM KENT, who complains about her C grade, but JACK says if she hadn't slept with him he would have failed her. The film has basically eliminated the thread about the bad grades and Jack's exchange of grades for sex. Some remaining dialogue refers to him as an "impossibly difficult" professor, but this has no bearing on the plot.

Kim has been upgraded from student to graduate assistant. The film takes place at the fictional NWU in Seattle, not at Columbia University or The University of British Columbia. (It was filmed in British Columbia.)

In class, MIKE STAMP, another student, argues with JACK over the concept of free will and how it applies to the distinction between sanity and insanity. JACK then gets a phone call during class, with a distorted voice announcing, "You've got 88 minutes to live."

JACK recognizes that whoever is making the calls is doing it from inside the classroom, and he frantically examines various student's cell phones until a fire drill interrupts him. With the hall emptying out, JACK sees another message on the chalkboard: "You have 82 minutes to live."; The dean, CAROL ANN JOHNSON, another one of JACK's amorous trysts, tells JACK that he should report the threat to Columbia security.

This is essentially unchanged except for some minor elements.


While talking with his assistant about FORSTER's handwriting analysis, JACK's cell phone explodes. The explosion has been eliminated. Jack simply drops the phone on the stairs and breaks it.
He races off to his car, only to find all four tires slashed. This has been changed. Given the re-shoot, it had to be. The change is that the tires are not slashed, thus correcting what would have been a critical plot hole in which the supposedly undriveable car gets out of the parking garage and appears on the street a few minutes later! In the revision, Jack finds the car to be merely vandalized and tells his teaching assistant to drive it up to the street, thus explaining how it got there in subsequent scenes. She later makes a point of saying something like, "Car's working fine. It's up on the street."

The remaining problem is that the killer has vandalized the car and written "72 minutes to live" on the trunk with a finger. This introduced a massive gap in the film's logic. The timing of the phone calls can be explained because the killer was going to kill Jack at 11:45, and each of the calls simply counted down the number of minutes until that time. Some of the calls were made live, and some were pre-recorded by the killer and delivered at a specific time so that Pacino would eliminate from suspicion the person he was then talking to. In each case, however, the caller simply reported the number of minutes until 11:45.

In the case of the car message, however, the killer had no way to know precisely when Pacino would pass it, or even whether he would use it at all.

On his way to campus security, MIKE STAMP confronts JACK about FORSTER, saying that without JACK's testimony, FORSTER wouldn't be on death row. Basically no change.

While in security, JACK receives another threat, and LAURA comes in claiming she was robbed and lost her phone. JACK tries to get a cab, but realizes he has no cash, so he goes to an ATM, where his card is declined. He meets KIM there, and notices she has a handgun, which she claims is unloaded, but needed to protect herself from her ex-boyfriend, who is a stalker. When JACK realizes he's the only one Kim has slept with and that her ex threatened to kill anyone she slept with, he asks her to come with him to his apartment. JACK receives more countdown threats, and his doorman tells him someone suspicious was at his apartment.


Only minor changes. The ATM/cab scenario has been eliminated.

Kim and Jack drive to the apartment in Jack's car, which has somehow mysteriously become unvandalized. I guess this has to do with the various versions of the script not matching up perfectly.


Inside, JACK looks over the crime scene photos, and examines KIM's purse, only to find her gun is loaded.


The loaded/unloaded clue has been eliminated. In the earlier version, Kim was the killer, and the wife of the death row convict, so this all made sense, but it had to be eliminated when the rewrite created a new killer and made Kim an ally.

The change in Kim's allegiance also created a stretch of credibility in the script. In the original script, Kim was the killer, and the wife of the death row inmate, so it made some sense that her ex-boyfriend was also in prison with her husband. In the rewrite, with Kim now Jack's ally, it seems unlikely that the stalker ex-boyfriend would somehow have a connection to the death row inmate. This is not actually a plot hole, but rather a truly improbable coincidence.

He asks his assistant to get the FBI involved, but before that happens, there are shots through his apartment door. JACK kills the person on the other side of the door, who turns out to be ANDREW TURK, Kim's ex. The ex-boyfriend continues to be a red herring, but in the latest version he is not shot by Jack. The boyfriend acts all macho and possessive at Jack's door, but he is actually shot by the real killer, who just happens to be there in the hall, armed to the teeth. (And who doesn't really seem to have any motivation to kill the ex-boyfriend.)

For as much fuss as the film makes about the security in Jack's apartment building, it sure seems to be easy for armed strangers to get into his hallway.

Strangely and confusingly enough, the real killer and the ex-boyfriend both wear motorcycle helmets and leather.


When JACK's building has a fire evacuation emergency, JACK drags Kim to Susan's apartment, where he finds SUSAN dead. No change, except that Susan is now called Sara, as mentioned earlier. Susan is now discovered dead at the 75 minute mark, and the remaining 32 minutes do not match up with the description at all.

KIM runs from JACK, who follows her back to campus because she's leaked that the students are behind this project in order to get him to reconsider failing them. CAROL ANN, the Dean, is involved in the conspiracy, but she tires to call it off when JACK confronts her, but KIM shoots her and tries to frame JACK for her murder.


None of this happens in the revised version.

The dean is not part of the conspiracy, but is forced at gunpoint to pretend she is telephonically. She is not shot by Kim. Remember Kim is now Jack's ally.

The "failing grade" sub-text has been eliminated in general, and Kim is no longer a student. Even more important, Kim is no longer the killer. The combination of these circumstances created a major problem in this scene: there is now simply no reason for Kim to mysteriously disappear from Jack's side at the dead girl's apartment. If she's his friend, why would she do that?

It seems that all this happened toward the end of the film in the original scenario, but in the existing version there are many additional scenes in which the film enters completely into rewrite territory and becomes more like Crank, with Jack (Pacino) frantically racing against the clock, dodging explosions, avoiding time-wasters, running up stairs, and shoulder-rolling with the best of them. He's not Jason Statham, but he moves pretty well for a little old guy.  (He's 66.)

In this section, Jack's car is blown up in the street. If you think about it, that makes no sense. The killer was already in the process of arranging an elaborate scheme to kill Jack at 11:45. Why, then, blow up his car and (probably) him as well at 11:00? Of course, you can apply the same logic to the killer's having earlier appeared at Jack's apartment with guns blazing! Are you gonna kill the guy BEFORE 11:45? If so, why the elaborate plot with the phone calls.

In the original script, as described to the left, there were no earlier attempts on Jack's life, which makes more sense, given the killer's stated intention to kill Jack at exactly 11:45.

Jack survives the car explosion, but he is a suspect in two murders, so he has to prevent an FBI agent and student Mike Stamp from wasting his time so he can make an appointment with the killer, who is holding two of his friends hostage and will kill them if Jack is not there by 11:45.

The lengthy confrontation with the (revised) killer is obviously completely new material.

JACK attends FORSTER's execution, where KIM and MIKE are witnesses. The FBI arrests KIM, who turns out to be FORSTER's wife. FORSTER was actually behind the plot to kill JACK in order to exact his revenge on JACK. When FORSTER is finally executed, JACK is there and gets the satisfaction of letting FORSTER know his plan has failed. This has been dramatically rewritten because Kim is no longer the killer.

So who is the killer? Hey, I've already told you some of the people who did not do it. You'll have to sift through the rest on your own.

The original version of the film supposedly ran 122 minutes. The revision is 107. If the Soray summary is about the early cut, then everything after the 71-minute mark of the latest version would be new footage, and some of the earlier footage would also be revised material. That would mean that only about half of the original footage remains in the film intact. I am inclined to think that is NOT the case. Industry scuttlebutt says that the re-shoots were limited and did not involve Pacino at all. Therefore, we probably should assume that the Soray summary describes a script rather than an earlier cut.

Either way, the existing film is completely unfocused. The editor did a decent job of putting it together without too many gaps in logic, but there are certainly some confusing elements. Some are noted in the summaries above. Another is a confusing flip-flop on the name of the death-row inmate, who is sometimes called Forster with two syllables, and sometimes Forester with three.

The following problem is probably unrelated to re-shooting. I suppose it is just sloppy continuity. Note that Pacino is standing about five feet farther to the left in the wide shot than in the close-up.

Bottom line: I'm sorry to say that the film is only watchable because of Pacino's presence, and even then only barely so. Without him it's a typical straight-to-vid thriller and absolutely nothing more.

Above: the first ten minutes of the film. (Includes nudity.) Above: the current version of the trailer. (It includes additional nudity cut off by the "ten minutes" clip.)
Here is one additional scene.  


  • Not yet available except in Brazil.


Leah Cairns shows her bum while brushing her teeth naked, then again when she is photographed from the rear in a bottomless apron.

The side of her right breast is also visible as she brushes her teeth and does stretching exercises.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online


The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a C-.  I would have rated it a D, except for the presence of one of the greatest film actors in history, who is on screen for nearly the full running time.

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