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  Foxtrap Outfoxed
Year: 1986
Director: Fred Williamson
Stars: Fred Williamson, Christopher Connelly, Arlene Golonka, Donna Owen, Lela Rochon, Nick Dimitri, Kimberly Rae, Peter Gonneau, Jean-Marie Pallardy, Daniele Romer, Beatrice Palme, Maurizio Bonuglia, Cleo Sebastian
Genre: Action, Thriller, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Tough-talking, cigar-chomping bad mo’fo-for-hire Thomas Fox (Fred Williamson) is tasked with locating the missing niece of rich businessman J.T. (Christopher Connelly). Apparently Susan (Donna Owen) was last seen travelling through Europe. So Fox flies over to Cannes, just in time for the Film Festival. Between trading blows with random thugs and making out with equally random bubble-permed Euro-hotties, Fox learns Susan has flown to Rome. So there he goes. Upon teaming up with doomed random shag Marianna (Beatrice Palme) Fox finally finds Susan swanning around with sinister nightclub proprietor Marco (Maurizio Bonuglia). To Fox's surprise, Susan makes it clear she has no intention of going home. He realizes there is more to this story than meets the eye.

Looking for a cure for insomnia? Well Fred 'The Hammer' Williamson has got you covered with Foxtrap. This turgid, meandering non-thriller has more padding than a drag queen's bra. Williamson was more often at his best working with strong directors like Larry Cohen, Henry Levin, Jack Arnold or Enzo G. Castellari who knew how to tailor an action vehicle around his genuine charisma. Alas his own directorial efforts seldom match up. Released the same year as Williamson's other endurance test The Messenger, Foxtrap was his attempt to launch a new character following a series of films with his earlier alter-ego Jesse Crowder. Indeed the film ends with a title card promising a sequel (The Fox and the Cobra) that never came. Given Thomas Fox wears the same tailored suits, smokes the same foot-long cigars and busts out the same dubious kung fu moves Fred Williamson did in most movies, one imagines few but the most die-hard Hammer fans could tell the difference.

Filmed on location around Europe, Foxtrap pads its already meagre run-time with tedious travelogue shots. See Fred strut through a hotel lobby! Or meander past posters for films you'd rather watch like Witness (1985) and Death Wish 3 (1985). Inexplicably the film fails to showcase otherwise glamorous locations to their best advantage, lending a strangely anonymous quality to iconic sites like Cannes and Rome. Along with seriously dodgy sound recording and cinematography that only kicks up a notch for a sex scene (with loving closeups of Beatrice Palme's ass being fondled by Fred), Foxtrap's attempts at weaving suspense fall flat. Their lethargic air only briefly punctuated whenever Fred kicks into badass mode. You do get to hear him speak Italian though. Quite well as it happens.

Elsewhere you have French B-thriller specialist Jean-Marie Pallardy (listed by some sources as co-director) appearing as a minor villain. Co-star Lela Rochon eventually graduated from trash like this to a more mainstream career as producer and actress and married noted director Antoine Fuqua. Among Fox’s more memorable allies is Josie (Cleo Sebastian), Marianna's catty, knife-wielding, flamboyantly gay roommate who distracts villains with his astonishing ballet moves then kicks their asses. Fred acts suitably impressed but one could hardly call the character’s presentation progressive. After meandering around Europe the third act bring Fox back to Los Angeles for a round of would-be shocking reveals explaining who Susan really is and why J.T. wants her back. Along with old pro Christopher Connelly one-shot actress Donna Owen delivers a decent performance as a character nonetheless seemingly more nuanced on the page (scripter Aubrey K. Rattan went on to pen the vastly superior Original Gangstas (1996) which paired Fred with a host of veteran Blaxploitation stars) than on screen. The rest of the cast might as well be sock puppets.


Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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