Directed by Kevin Hooks

Starring Lawrence Fishburne, Stephen Baldwin, Salma Hayek, Will Patton


Opened: July 19, 1996 | Rated: R

"Fled" has one good motorcycle chase and a funny exit line to cue the closing credits. Beyond that, it's an unremarkable movie that has the same tired formula as director Kevin Hooks' other big action project, "Passenger 57."

It's all wise-cracking heroes with 50-cent catch-phrases chased into shoot-outs with scenery-chewing henchmen. In other words, nothing you haven't seen a dozen times before.

Stephen Baldwin plays Dodge, an Atlanta hacker sent to prison for breaking into corporate computers. During a roadside chain gang detail, he escapes with Piper (Lawrence Fishburne), the fellow he's chained to, after another convict grabs a gun and starts shooting guards.

They're on the lamb together and naturally, they can't stand each other. Naturally, they have a common cause -- in this case recovering $25 million Dodge stole over the internet from a dummy corporation run by the Cuban mob.

Dodge didn't know who he was stealing from and the Attorney General's office joins the manhunt hoping to retrieve computer files he stole to use them in a court case against the mob boss.

Naturally, one of the feds is working for the mob.

There was potential here for a story about two men learning to trust each other, but "Fled" isn't an MTV version of "The Defiant Ones" (without all that darn social commentary) even if it looks like it is, what with a white convict chained to a black convict. Instead, it's just a run of the mill adventure full of stock characters, like Dodge's stripper girlfriend who gets waxed after a sex scene and three lines of dialogue.

Almost every scene -- the shoot-out in the Georgia Dome, the fight on a gondola, the hit-man torture sequence -- is from a scriptwriter's paint-by-the-numbers set and you can see the finished product before the first brush stroke hits the canvas.

In a little self-deprecating humor, the script does acknowledge its unoriginality by way of Dodge recognizing scenes as they happen and repeatedly insisting to Piper, "Haven't you seen (instert title of movie here)?!"

There is an interesting, smarter than he looks redneck cop (Will Patton) who stands out against the ho-hum background -- mostly because the character is entirely out of place. Also notable is Salma Hayek ("Desperado"), who plays Piper's love interest and such a sweet yet sultry presence that she makes an impression in this recycled role.

But the heroes are written dull, and even if this were a movie with ample adrenaline, that fact alone would sink it.

Tough only as the script calls for it, the rest of the time they're sensitive but masculine nice guys about as exciting as bankers.

©1996 All Rights Reserved.

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