Owen Gleiberman
July 10, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Unlawful Entry

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
117 minutes
performer
Ray Liotta, Kurt Russell, Madeleine Stowe, Carmen Argenziano, Roger E. Mosley
director
Jonathan Kaplan
distributor
20th Century Fox Film Corporation
author
Lewis Colick
genre
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it an B-

Unlawful Entry, an efficient, intense formula thriller in which a nice, domesticated developer (Kurt Russell) and his nice domestic wife (Madeleine Stowe) are menaced by a seductive psycho cop (Ray Liotta), is sure to be criticized for going over the top during its bloody climax. Of course it goes over the top — it is now required by the U.S. Constitution that movie villains have to die at least twice (preferably springing back to life with an appropriate thwong! on the soundtrack). The real contrivance in these new, crazed-intruder-in-the-house-of-yuppiedom movies (The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Pacific Heights) comes earlier on: It’s that the husbands and wives never seem to talk to — or believe — each other. Then again, implausibilities like this are meant to be ignored, or at least passed over, and the skillful performers in Unlawful Entry make that easy to do — Russell, as the civilized macho juggling fear, rage, and decency; Stowe, who brings tremulous shades of anxiety to the role of the perfect wife; and Liotta, who with his velvet voice, devil-baby handsomeness, and weirdly melting skin was obviously born to play these debonair maniacs.B-

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