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Even Denzel can't save 'The Bone Collector'


Arizona Daily Wildcat

Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures. Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie in "The Bone Collector."

By Casey Dexter
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
November 12, 1999
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Do not go to the movie theater to see "The Bone Collector." It is absolutely worthless - it is unoriginal, obvious and idiotic. In fact, turn on any cable station around 11 p.m. and you'll probably see "The Bone Collector" in one form or another.

Here's the plot - a kooky serial killer has it out for a clever cop. He leaves clues for the policeman to follow, always staying just ahead of him. The catch - this time the officer is a quadriplegic! Crazy, huh? So to solve the mystery, he has to use the body of uptight Angelina Jolie to walk and snoop for him.

Here's a game to play - figure out which of the random people in the beginning of the film is the killer. It's easy! Especially if you've ever seen any other serial killer movie. The murderer stands out like a sore thumb. Now the movie makers try to throw the audience off with another character who seems really, really bad. All of his dialogue is very suspicious and deliberate - but don't be fooled! Because the obvious guy is never the killer - that's one of the first rules of serial killer film viewing. It'll always be the random person in the beginning.

Hey, here's another reason why any audience member is guaranteed to have seen this movie before somehow - Denzel Washington has not played an original or different character since he began acting. Washington is a very, very overrated man. Okay, so he plays the "soulful professional" really well - but it's all that he ever plays. "Philadelphia" - soulful lawyer. "The Pelican Brief" - soulful journalist. "Glory" - soulful soldier. "Courage Under Fire" - soulful soldier. And so on and so forth. So surprise, surprise - Denzel is a soulful policeman. Yes it's true, this time he's semi-suicidal, but don't worry - he's still the same old Denzel. He speaks softly, cries from time to time, smiles at the ladies and ends up as an all around nice guy. Whoops, sorry Denzel fans, don't mean to ruin the surprise.

Fortunately, Luis Guzman, character actor extraordinaire appears briefly as Eddie Ortiz (hey, the screenwriter decided to give him a really stereotypical Hispanic New Yorker name that is practically indistinguishable from any other Hispanic New Yorker name - imagine that). The character is nothing but a stereotype either, but luckily, Guzman manages to make any character original, no matter how poor the movie is.

Queen Latifah also makes a fairly harmless cameo as Denzel's nurse, Thelma. Ordinarily, it really wouldn't be worth mentioning, but in this case, when placed against the rest of this mindless movie, it's absolutely outstanding.

"The Bone Collector" is an utter waste of time. Save the energy and gas in going down to the theater and use the money to expand the television's cable selection. The "classics" on "USA Up All Night" have got to be more surprising than this.

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