I, the Jury (1982)

Genres - Crime, Drama, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Detective Film  |   Release Date - Apr 22, 1982 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 111 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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This attempt to update Mickey Spillane's hard-nosed style of detective fiction for the 1980's tries hard but still manages to fall short. Larry Cohen's script reworks Spillane's source novel extensively to give it some unusual, politically subversive themes but the film feels oddly lifeless in its pacing and structure. The major reason for this is the no-frills direction from television veteran Richard T. Heffron: his formulaic, competent-but-styleless approach to the material saps it of its energy and humor, creating an end result that looks and feels like a t.v. movie with added sex and violence. The television-like feel is enhanced by a chintzy score from Bill Conti that sounds like outtakes from a 1970's cop show. In terms of acting, Armand Assante does well with his brooding take on the detective hero and Barbera Carrera is alluring as the mysterious therapist who becomes his romantic interest. There are also likeable turns from Laurene Landon as Hammer's hard-working gal Friday and comedian Alan King as a stylish mob boss. Unfortunately, their quality work exists in a vacuum because the storytelling lacks the intensity and focus that define a good thriller. As a result, I, The Jury is little more than an interesting misfire.