Night Vision (1997) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Scoop's notes in white

I laughed all the way through this film. I don't think they knew they were making a comedy, but they did anyway, and quite a good one at that.

Fred "The Hammer" Williamson, who is now so old he should be called Fred "The Cane" Williamson, is an alcoholic ex-detective who's been busted down to motorcycle duty and is in danger of being expelled from the force altogether unless he can get off the sauce. He thinks that he's hit rock-bottom, but an incident causes him to lose his cycle, and he wonders how much lower he can get busted. It turns out that he can fall much lower, indeed, at least in his estimation: he is assigned to a police car with a female partner. Cynthia Rothrock plays his partner, "Quick Draw" McGraw, a tough lady cop who also been disgraced because she shot and killed an unarmed suspect.

Together, the two outcasts battle

  • a serial killer who has video cameras everywhere in Dallas
  • the mob
  • an internal affairs investigation directed at them
  • a corrupt police force
  • a new chief who wants to fire Fred
  • fatal wounds
  • Fred's alcoholism
  • high oil prices
  • international terrorism
  • global warming
  • the Trilateral Commission
  • and the insufficient amount of cream inside the new Twinkie formula.

The bad guys not only have every room in Dallas bugged, but are armed with bazookas, flare guns, tasers, and uzis. Fred and Cindy have only a six-pack of Pabst, her high-flying feet, and a six-shooter which is capable of firing thousands of shots without requiring a reload.

Still, The Hammer stands triumphant.

Not only is the script preposterous, but the direction includes in this single film just about the complete roster of every kind of technical error Ed Wood ever made in his entire career. As mentioned, Fred "The Hammer" has the magic pistol. The same stock footage repeats again and again. Night and day interchange inexplicably. The character's clothing changes from camera angle to camera angle in the same scene. Consecutive scenes have no connection between them. Some scenes are out of focus. Some characters commit inexplicable actions which seem to promise future explanations that never arrive. Other characters disappear, and the audience cannot determine why, or where they went. People hear things they can't possibly hear because they are too far away, and see things they couldn't possibly have seen because they were under the covers. Actors deliver their lines before waiting for the completion of the event they are commenting on. Fred "The Hammer" comes back from the dead twice.

You name it, and this movie has it.

And get this: The Hammer is probably the best actor in the movie!

Despite a unanimous "thumbs down" from the IMDb peanut gallery and an overall IMDb score in the low threes, this film inspired three sequels, or at least three more movies in which The Hammer played Dakota Smith. Unlike most film franchises, this one seems to be improving:

At this rate of improvement, an entry in this series should manage to crack the IMDb Top 250 list around the year 2018 - just in time for The Hammer's 80th birthday!


DVD info from Amazon

  • no features, no widescreen



This film has one redeeming element. Two attractive women got topless, in very good light, in close up, in focus, with no friggin' tricks or body doubles or elbows in the way. That is something.

  • Nina Richardson
  • Mary Kapper

Tuna's notes in yellow

Night Vision is a 70s-style exploitation film starring Fred "the Hammer" Williamson and Cynthia Rothrock. He is a recovering alcoholic loner who has been busted all the way back to motorcycle patrol, and she has been demoted because she shot an unarmed suspect in the line of duty. They are assigned to work together to stop a serial killer who has a thing for media, and a personal vendetta against The Hammer. The killer tapes personal details of young women's lives, then kills the women and releases the videos to the press, while selling the uncut versions through Mafia connections worldwide. As if the psychotic killer and the Mafia weren't trouble enough, there is also a spy on the police force. Rothrock and Williamson find that they are compatible as a team, and she also resolves to help him with his sobriety -- help he badly needs.

This is pretty much a standard low budget action film, with weak special effects, lots of gunfire, and not a lot of substance. On the other hand, it has the required breast exposure from two victims, good martial arts from Rothrock, and plenty of action. I, for one, would rather watch one of these than many huge budget special effects laden Hollywood mainstream films.

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 3.1/10. Yes, it is that bad, but scoring it that way is such a humorless way to look at life.
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.

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. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). 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. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. 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-.

Based on this description, Tuna says. "It is certainly an anachronism, but no worse than similar films from the 70s and 80s, and is hence a C." Scoop says, "I will call it a C+ as an unintentional comedy of hilarious ineptitude, but if you want to see a cop film, this is an F. It could not be much worse."

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