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TV Movie Review: 'A Taste for Killing'

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A Taste for Killing

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
performer:
Jason Bateman, Michael Biehn, Henry Thomas, Renee Zellweger, Woody Watson
broadcaster:
USA Network
genre:
ActionAdventure, Drama

We gave it a B+

With his smug yuppie looks, Jason Bateman (The Hogan Family) is well cast in A Taste For Killing as Blaine Stoddard III , a Richie Rich whose bigwig father finagles for him and his best friend, Cary Sloan (Henry Thomas, forever of E.T.), summer jobs on a Texas offshore oil rig between college graduation and law school, in this surprisingly nasty-fun drama. Most of the other workers shun them — except Bo Landry (Michael Biehn of The Abyss and The Terminator), who is all too willing to show them the ropes, Bo style. What Bo knows, however, is nothing good. He’s a sociopath; he kills with ease. Having stirred up trouble between Blaine and Elray, a mean-tempered coworker (Blue Deckert), he ingratiates himself with Blaine by picking a fight with Elray — and killing him. And thus begins Blaine’s trouble big time, as Bo’s behavior becomes increasingly deadly.

Biehn, a solid and appealing action-film actor, does a terrific job here; he’s taut and fresh and effectively threatening, building the menace slowly. And Bateman, to his credit, keeps up with the evolution, changing, under Bo’s tutelage, from a passive moral weakling to an active one. Thomas, meanwhile, charts the moral compass; with his choirboy face, it would be hard to believe him in anything but that role. Still, there’s something quietly pleasing about him, and, happily, he gets the independent-minded oil-rigger girl in the end (Helen Cates). The whole production has a bracing look and feel. A Taste for Killing may be about foul play among the oil riggers, but there’s very little oiliness in the dramatic drill.

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