By Doug Brunell | December 4, 2004

Robert Morgan plays a serial killer who is doing away with people so that he can become the next incarnation of the Mongol King, an idea inspired by the writings of Nostradamus. As with almost every serial killer movie, you need a detective hell bent on bringing the criminal in. Enter Detective Kirchoff (Richard D. Jewell).

Kirchoff actually encounters the killer early on, but fails to capture him. As luck would have it, he loses his wife and daughter to an auto accident that very day. (He was supposed to go see his daughter’s play — like he promised her — but decided to wallow in his shortcomings and get drunk instead. A device out of How To Write A Cop Character 101.) Kirchoff retires from the force and years later ends up teaching a criminal justice class attended by Jane (Sara Stepnicka). Jane’s boyfriend, Lotus (Anthony Vallone), is about to fall victim to the killer because he’s trying to be a good citizen. See how all this fits together?

Oh yeah, Kirchoff comes out of retirement to catch the killer … but only after having an odd dream that leads him to the King’s previous victims.

Okay, this film starts out fairly promising. The Mongol King, like most serial killers, has a low-end job, and his goals seem pretty interesting. The problems start piling up, however, when it is revealed that he poisons his victims. Poisoning is primarily a method preferred by female killers and not males. It’s a minor quibble, and if his reasons would have been explained, it would’ve been more believable. Instead, it just comes across as sloppy writing. If that were the only flaw, it could be overlooked, though. Unfortunately, it’s not.

There are huge gaps in logic and plot holes that defy explanation.
Poor acting, especially by writer/director Anthony Vallone, help to destroy this picture, too. Some writer and directors should avoid acting at all costs. Vallone is one of them. He may also want to consider avoiding writing and directing.

There’s nothing worse than a thriller that doesn’t thrill. When viewers spend their time wishing the main characters would die – that’s a bad film. Even Morgan’s role, which seemed decent at first, dissolves into that of a stereotypical killer from an NBC cop show the second he opens his mouth. With serial killers, sometimes less is more.

There are far better films out there of the same ilk. Serial killer cinema may be slightly tired, but it’s a fascinating subject that filmmakers will probably never grow tired of exploring. Find one of those films, where a lot of thought and research has gone into the story, and avoid this one at all costs.

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