Most Wanted [1997]

Comic actor Keenen Ivory Wayans made a creditable effort to expand his career horizons by writing the script for this action thriller, in which he also stars. Wayans plays U.S. Marine Sgt. James Dunn, a military hero who refuses an order to shoot a young shepherd during the Gulf War. His insubordination leads to a lethal struggle with a superior officer and a subsequent murder conviction against Dunn. Plucked from his death sentence by a covert unit of Marines, however, Dunn soon finds himself in a shadowy world of undercover wars under the command of one Lt. Col. Grant Casey (Jon Voight). Offered freedom in exchange for aiding a mission against a corrupt industrialist (Robert Culp), Dunn agrees and then discovers he's actually been set up to take the fall for an assassination. Suddenly, he's the most wanted man in the world, with police, the military, the Secret Service, and legions of reward seekers chasing him around Los Angeles. Jill Hennessy stars as an eyewitness who happened to catch the killing on videotape and can clear Dunn if she would only cooperate with him--a problem, since he has kidnapped her. Directed by David Glenn Hogan, Most Wanted works just fine as a well-oiled action piece with a capable star and competent action sequences. The story ideas (especially Dunn's Rambo-esque flight through the city and his reliance on esoteric survival skills) feel overly familiar, but that only makes Most Wanted all the more enjoyable as a potboiler instead of a serious original. --Tom Keogh

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