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Fatal Instinct

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Too dopey to cut it as a theatrical release, but more knowingly and competently made than most of its straight-to-video analogues, this Carl Reiner-directed pastiche-parody of film noir occupies a lonely corner of video purgatory. As detective/lawyer Ned Ravine, leading man Assante is pleasingly deadpan, and the rest of the cast is similarly game. Imagine how tedious Airplane! would have been had its makers evinced any concern for its characters and you’ll have a good idea of what sinks Fatal Instinct. C-