Jack of Hearts (1999) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This movie is basically the same quality of 90 minutes of broadcast TV or basic cable. It is directed with a no-frills, workmanlike narrative, and can be likened to an episode of Vega$ with an extra sex scene.

It stars Luis Mandylor, who is making a serious run at Eric Roberts for the rule of the hyphen kingdom (made-for- and straight-to-). According to IMDb, Mandylor is an Aussie of Greek heritage who is an expert at a form of Thai martial arts called "muy thai", which presumably means "very Thai-like". For you literal-minded, I don't really know what it means. 

If he's an Aussie, he has the whole American thing down perfectly, but he surely didn't get a chance to show any fighting skills here. I think he lost every fight he was in, almost drowning after a baddie threw him in a swimming pool. 


Mandylor has a sex scene with Tawnya Richardson, and they're both naked, but the scene is done with fast cuts and in darkness, so little is actually seen.
The premise is that Mandylor is a cop who's been blackballed by every police department in America because he ratted out most of his Florida department to internal affairs. The police chief in Vegas is desperate for good detectives, however, because the city is growing too fast for the force to keep pace, so he gives Mandylor a trial appointment.

Of course, many things in Vegas involve tacit understandings between the cops and certain powerful men, and the unsubtle Mandylor is a bull in a China shop, so he's fired within 24 hours. As he packs his bags, he's hired by the Nevada Gambling Commission to be their personal investigator, because they don't trust the cops.

The complete lack of logic in the script is best shown by this scene:

Mandylor comes to his new apartment building to move in. We know he's never been there before, because he doesn't know where to find his own apartment. He gets directions from a girl at the pool, who asks him to bring back a beer. He goes to his apartment. We see him reach in the refrigerator. Then we see him back at the pool, sharing a cold beer with the girl.

From this we can assume: (1) that he rented a furnished apartment, and that the furnishings included a refrigerator full of beer (2) that the girl at the pool knew he would have a refrigerator full of beer, even though he had never been in the apartment before. That's just one example. The film is filled with similar puzzlers.

DVD info from Amazon

Poor DVD. No menu, no features, poorly mastered, 4:3 version only.

The story continues to an unlikely ending, the only real highlight of which was a fistfight atop Hoover Dam, in which Mandylor threw his opponent over the edge. That was some very effective stunt and body-dummy work, because they showed the body tumbling all the way down the face of the dam.

Trivia: Within a recent fifteen year period, IMDb lists five different projects with this same title.

The Critics Vote

  • no major reviews online


The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary. Their members vote it a 4.2/10, based on only 15 votes.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My 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. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. 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-. Given the presence of Roddy Piper in the cast, I suppose it must actually be a D, but I watched it all the way through without the FF. When I try to be objective, it seems like I should have liked it much less than I did, because it is an illogical and contrived cheesefest. I guess it's not completely awful, but rather a barely watchable genre film, thus my C-, but I can't convince myself that is correct. Maybe I was just in a good mood.

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