I avoided this film for years. When it came out, I didn't want to see it because I liked the original version so much, and at the time I was strongly against remaking films that didn't need to be remade... I'm still against it, but at the same time, who cares? The original will still be there. ... I don't even think I knew Robin Johnson was in it at the time, but I did know it was made by Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel, who were also responsible for Max Headroom, one of the greatest TV shows of all time. Wasn't enough to get me into the theater.
Later, as it became obvious that this was The Last Robin Johnson Movie, I stayed away from it because, well, as long as I didn't see it, there would always be another film with Robin Johnson in it that I hadn't seen. Does that make any sense?
So, I finally saw it a few weeks ago, and it's pretty good. The basic story is the same as the original, although all the details are different... Dexter Cornell (Dennis Quaid) discovers he's been poisoned, and has 24 hours to find his killer. Meanwhile, everybody around him starts dropping dead, and he's the primary suspect.
Robin Johnson has a gift for believably delivering badly written dialogue, but Cookie Fitzwaring (daughter of millionairess, uh, Mrs. Fitzwaring [Charlotte Rampling] [did she have a first name?] is the lone character in this slick 80s neo-noir who's written as though she's in a 40s classic-noir. And that's all I'm gonna say about it. -- Except that husky, chesty Brooklyn voice is gone... Cookie has a somewhat nasal, generic Middle America thing going on. (Admittedly, it would have been kinda strange for the Fitzwaring kid to tawk like dat.)
But the worst thing about D.O.A. is that, like most of the characters, Cookie doesn't live through the film. And that means that the last time we get to see Robin Johnson onscreen, she's sinking to the bottom of a tar pit with a bullet in her head.
There's a picture of that at Cinemorgue... you can go look if you want, I'm not gonna put it up here.
So, sure, I have some problems with D.O.A. But they don't have much to do with the movie itself. It's still a pretty good flick, with Robin Johnson in it. Too bad it's the last one...
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Images from D.O.A. ©1988 Touchstone Pictures.