3:15 the Moment of Truth (1986)

Genres - Action, Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller, Melodrama  |   Release Date - May 31, 1986 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Donald Guarisco

This riff on the juvenile-delinquent genre tries to mix up the format a bit but doesn't feel like a fully realized piece of work. The script basically proposes a High Noon-style standoff between two former friends in a high school. The story is interesting when it goes in an allegorical direction -- like an intriguing scene where the hero talks with his coach about how none of the adult institutions around him are capable of protecting him -- but aside from the hero, the characterizations are mostly hastily-sketched stereotypes, especially the generic "crazy" gang-leader villain, and the plot details are dealt out in a sloppy, erratic manner. Director Larry Gross maintains a solid pace and musters up the occasional impressive visual flourish, like a montage that precedes the final showdown. However, his visual style is schizophrenic because it never commits to having a gritty inner-city school look or a more suburban, John Hughes-influenced visual style and confusingly tries to pull off both at once. In terms of acting, Adam Baldwin offers a low-key yet charismatic performance as the hero and Deborah Foreman adds nice support as his romantic interest but the gang members all wildly overplay their roles (and it doesn't help that all the "students" appear to be in their mid-to-late 20's). Even the title showdown plays out in an underwhelming and half-baked style. In short, 3:15: The Moment Of Truth gets points for experimenting with its genre but ultimately comes off as an interesting misfire.