Owen Gleiberman
May 25, 1990 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A Show of Force

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
performer
Andy Garcia, Amy Irving
director
Bruno Barreto
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Drama

We gave it a D+

The ramblingly mediocre A Show of Force is a political-conspiracy movie set in 1978 that feels like it was made in 1978. It seems to have been produced by people who just caught up with Watergate. Amy Irving plays an American television reporter working at a small station in Puerto Rico. When two students sympathetic to the leftist independentista movement — which is for severing all ties between the commonwealth and the United States — are murdered by the police, Irving spends scene after stolid scene untangling the most banal of cover-up conspiracies. It’s presented as a shocking revelation that, in the late ’70s, the U.S. government was involved in (yes) unethical activities concerning (hold on to your chair) the suppression of Communism in Latin America! The performances are mostly perfunctory, though Lou Diamond Phillips shows a new insolence as an arrogant undercover agent. He may have a future playing scoundrels.

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