Remember "Red Heat," the blah 1988 Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle about the culture clash that ensues when a Russian policeman comes to America? Well, actor-director and Arnold-wannabe Alexander Nevsky has now updated the premise with "Black Rose" — and has come up with an impressively thorough compendium of '80s cop picture clichés.
Nevsky plays Vladimir Kazatov, the kind of loose-cannon lawman who constantly gets yelled at by superior officers — both at home in Moscow and when he journeys to Los Angeles in pursuit of a serial killer. After Kazatov's aggressive, rule-breaking style chases off his first L.A. partner (who has "two years to retirement" and doesn't need the trouble), he's paired up with young profiler Emily Smith.
As Smith, Kristanna Loken does her best to bring all the energy to her performance that Nevsky lacks, but she's overmatched by a script that seems to have been cut-and-pasted from an action screenplay template.
"Black Rose" is rooted in a rudimentary understanding of criminal psychology, as Smith and Kazatov presume that a psycho who murders a particular type of woman must have been jilted by one. Following that trail leads to a predictable and groan-inducing "twist" ending.
The bigger problem with the movie is its moldy dialogue and its cartoonish conception of Californians who drink "tofu seaweed alfalfa smoothies." From start to finish, "Black Rose" is about as pro forma as a motion picture gets.
Running time: 1 hour, 23 minutes.
Playing: Monica Film Center, Santa Monica