Let’s cut straight to the chase: Black Rose is a bad film — amazingly, astoundingly, supercalifragilisticexpialidociously bad. It’s the directorial debut of Russian action star Alexander Nevsky (not to be confused with the thirteenth-century battling prince about whom Eisenstein once made a historical). Nevsky plays a noble but badass Moscow police major who, of course, lives by his own rules. He travels to Los Angeles to aid the local police in tracking down a serial killer who has a thing for Russian-immigrant streetwalkers.
The film was reportedly released in Russia way back in January 2014, but it exudes such a tired, cheaply made laziness that it could have jumped off a Blockbuster shelf in 1992. Nevsky is emulating his own childhood hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger, acting as wooden and stilted as Schwarzenegger did in his prime. As such, the movie is a sunny ripoff of Red Heat, one that pairs its star not with Jim Belushi but with brainy-but-easy-on-the-eyes cop (Kristanna Loken, who went after Schwarzenegger in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines). The two do damage all over L.A. Robert Davi, who co-starred with Arnie in Raw Deal, turns up here as the sympathetic LAPD captain who turns a blind eye to Nevsky’s Dirty Harry tactics.
This lunkheaded yarn is 82 minutes of Nevsky trying to be like a 1980s action hero. But he forgets to make everything else — the story, the direction, the performances from his fellow castmates — look even that appealing.
Directed by Alexander Nevsky
Opens April 28
Available on demand