REVIEW: ‘Cut to the Chase’ features another memorable role from Lance Henriksen

Cut to the Chase stars Lance Henriksen, perhaps best remembered for his role on TV’s Millennium. Photo courtesy of Cinematic Red.

Cut to the Chase, the new action thriller from actor-writer-director Blayne Weaver, is a by-the-numbers crime drama that fails to gain momentum and features a script with one too many stilted one-liners. The acting is passable, but the material is too sub-par for any breakout performances — except from the great Lance Henriksen

Weaver not only writes and directs; he also plays the title character. Max Chase is someone who flirts with danger and will never be pushed around. He’s out on parole, and his sister (Erin Cahill) is currently serving as his legal guardian. Chase eventually gets behind on a debt to a crime boss known as “The Man” (Henriksen), and the gloves come off, on both sides. Chase’s sister disappears, and the faithful brother will stop at nothing to find out what happened to her and who is responsible.

Henriksen’s presence in the film could have elevated the material, for sure, but he’s relegated to an opening monologue and a few quick scenes throughout the narrative. A star of his caliber should have been given a more prominent presence, and that could have saved the drama.

Chase is not a bad actor, and there’s a believability to his bad-boy persona. But he doesn’t exude danger, and sometimes his threats feel somewhat empty.

Lyndie Greenwood, perhaps best known for her turn in TV’s Sleepy Hollow, shows up as a fellow criminal who may have the answers Chase is seeking. Even though Greenwood is a talented actress, her character is overwritten, and her true motivations seem too obvious to the audience. When someone is billed as mysterious, shouldn’t that send off the Bat signal?

There are a few chase scenes in Cut to the Chase that are nicely pulled off, especially for a non-blockbuster on presumably a tight budget.

Throughout the story, one never doubts Weaver’s commitment to the film or his character. That type of dedication is appreciated, but there’s simply not enough to champion, except, that is, Henriksen’s performance.

This legendary actor, who solved supernatural crimes on TV’s Millennium, can probably perform these small characters with his eyes closed, but he digs deep into the role of “The Man” and other characterizations. One read of his biography can attest to the fact that he takes each and every performance seriously and constructs extensive background on his characters. That artistic process is on display for at least a few minutes in Cut to the Chase. One wishes there was more time with the legend.

By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com

Cut to the Chase (2017), written and directed by Blayne Weaver, stars Weaver, Erin Cahill, Lance Henriksen, Lyndie Greenwood, Luke Sexton, Patrick Kirton and Patrick Day. Rating: ★★☆☆ Click here for more information.

John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Earth Island Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at Time.com, among other publications. E-mail him at john@hollywoodsoapbox.com

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