Although Angel Blade is full of familiar faces such as Margot Kidder and Marc Singer, it will ride far on the fact that it features a very young looking (and quite fetching) Amanda Righetti (The OC) in her first film role. Amanda plays Samantha, a jaded lingerie model whom ex-cop Bradley Cooper (David Heavener) has begun a relationship with. He was initially led to her doorstep when he’s lured back to the force to find the perp who’s been cutting up pregnant hookers. If that isn’t a Modus Operandi, I don’t know what is! Bradley hopes to find some catharsis in solving the crime since his pregnant wife was killed when she fell off the roof of a building. Bradley’s methods are somewhat unorthodox but he seems to get answers. The first one leads him to Dr. Martin Gites (Marc Singer), a suave psychiatrist who has a connection to both the victims. The path to uncovering the killer leads Bradley to face (and in a way embrace) the moral bankruptcy he has dwelled in since his wife’s death. Enter Samantha, who’s S&M games of cutting and handcuffs takes Bradley obsessions over the edge.
Angel Blade isn’t unlike a lot of the Cinemax thrillers that flooded the market about ten years ago (wow, remember when?). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Yes, it’s got lots of silicone and a bit of male beefcake to even it out, but like some of the best late night sex films of the 90s, this one has got a fun story and a really interesting ending. Heavener was the writer, producer, director and star and carries this indie thriller well. As a Las Vegas native, I was pleased he chose to shoot the city without relying on the glamorous underbelly of the strip. The art direction is dead on – those apartments looked like every apartment I dwelled in as a teen. Righetti was an interesting choice as the love interest, but seemed a bit too young for Heavener. Kidder gives not much more than a cameo, but she always a treat, regardless of the size of the part.
My only qualm with the movie was the overall pacing. As a sexy thriller, it’s lurid enough but there either should have been more sex or more mystery to even it out. However, the ending, which mixes Torso with a Gregory Dark (aka Gregory Hippolyte) film and includes a fascinating ending, which should please folks seeking out sexed up thrills.