No Witness (2004) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)


If I tell you that this film was made in Atlanta for $350,000 and stars Jeff Fahey and Corey Feldman, you'll probably assume that it is a total suckfest, but you'll be wrong. It has some merit. Oh, it does have its problems. It is not very original, it looks cheap, the direction is quite clumsy in some scenes (the camera whips back and forth during a conversation, for example), and the photography is too dark in general. All of that notwithstanding, it is a watchable straight-to-vid that turned out to have a pretty cool little ending. It ain't Citizen Kane, but I survived it without the fast forward button, and I suppose you might say it's a helluva movie considering it was produced by a disc jockey for 350 grand. Steve Barnes, who produced this movie and played the hit man, is a top morning drive jock in Atlanta. His production company, Barnesology Pictures, negotiated a three picture deal for Barnes to produce and star. No Witness was the first of the three.

It's a crime thriller about a corrupt senator (Fahey) who has been indicted on several counts. He embarks upon a campaign of bumping off anyone who can implicate him in dirty doings.  The senator insists on a policy of "no witnesses" when the murders are committed. He uses an efficient professional killer, but the senator and the hit man do not meet face to face in order to maintain the politician's deniability. The killer is hired by his smart-ass toady (Feldman).

The script introduces the concepts in a clever opening scene. As the film begins, we see some drug dealers bursting in on a suburban couple, demanding the payoff from some earlier deal. The intruders are just about to kill Ozzie and Harriet when a vigilante bursts through the door and bumps off the tough guys. It's a good scene fraught with dramatic tension, but nothing so very remarkable until the suburbans thank their rescuer, whereupon he surprises them and the audience by killing them as well! He than arranges all the bodies and guns to create the impression of a shoot-out.

What's going on? Two things. The scene successfully whets the appetite, and also establishes the "no witnesses" rule. We realize that everybody who sees the professional killer must die. Tough break for Ozzie and Harriet.

As the film progresses through a series of twists and turns, the Senator eventually hires the hit man to kill a 17 year old girlfriend who has become a potential nuisance to his re-election campaign. This, the hit man does successfully, but only after a long chase through a building where the senator himself is giving a speech. The killer finally stalks and kills his prey in the men's room - just as the senator enters to take a leak. 

Oh, boy! Maybe that "no witnesses" policy wasn't that good an idea after all.

The hit man leaves by commenting to the senator's lifeless body, "you should have held it."

The end.

(More or less.)

Corey Feldman did an absolutely excellent job in all respects (jeez, I never expected to be typing that) as the senator's toady. His line readings were credible, and filled with a lot of humor and irony that he personally added to the character. Amazingly, Corey almost made it through the entire film without his obligatory trademark sunglasses, but he did finally manage to slip them on, although just for a couple of frames.

Jeff Fahey did a decent job, but he was badly miscast as a U.S. Senator, when he obviously should have been the hit man. It was pretty hard to believe that anybody would vote for this guy. There are some weird lookin' and actin' senators, but not many with spikey unkempt hair and crazy eyes. Senators may be corrupt and debauched, but they can't look corrupt and debauched, or they lose elections.


Unfortunately Barnes himself is not a great actor. His hit man character was supposed to be cold and detached, but Barnes was downright wooden.

No, he's not pretending to be a well-armed ice man. His hat is supposed to say POLICE. I guess the other letters would have put them over budget.



  • No meaningful features
  • No widescreen.
  • It is very dark.



As advertised, there is nudity, but it is a disappointment. Besides being too dark (like the rest of the film), it consists entirely of background strippers in nude dancing joints.

The Critics Vote ...

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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.

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, it's a C-. It is not a very good movie, and I don't recommend it, but it is not as bad as some have suggested. Corey Feldman is entertaining, and the plot isn't bad at all. I'd say it's pretty decent for an ultra-low budgeter.

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