April 07, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT
We gave it a B

BULLETPROOF HEART (Keystone Films, R) is a small, independent, noir-colored film about hard-hearted people and the unpredictable incidents that make them crack. But don’t go into it thinking you’re going to get Son of the Last Seduction. Sure, Mark Malone’s movie has got the right dark, almost operatic look, with theatrically orchestrated settings — a cemetery, a big dark car lit up orange inside, a vacant warehouse. It’s got a nicely anhedonic-for-the-’90s plot, too: Mick (Anthony LaPaglia), a hitman dead of emotions, is dispatched by a fellow hood, George (Peter Boyle), to knock off Fiona (Mimi Rogers), a broad who knows too much. The twist is that she welcomes death. It’s just that every man who gets near her becomes a puddle, a slave, putty in her hands. George already failed at the task. Now it’s Mick’s turn to try.

Malone does many things just right. That feeling of psychic emptiness, well conveyed by the underappreciated LaPaglia, is counterpointed by Matt Craven as a nervous, gabby sidekick who aspires to Mick’s ”manly” heartlessness. The script is a little stiff and rat-a-tatty, but it motors nicely. The big drawback, though, is Rogers. What you want in an emotionally unstable seductress is the cold nerve and knifing sex appeal of a Linda Fiorentino. What you get is an actress who, no matter how much she vamps, emits a distracting scent of amateurishness in every role she takes. Here, she speaks sultry-low and, at one point, ties Matt up for a bout of rough sex. But Fiona is not a hot ticket. She’s a poseur. And you’d think Mick, with his seen-it-all eyes, would recognize that little number a lousy mile away.

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