Countdown (1996)

Rating: **
Alternate Title: Serial Bomber
Review Date: 6/19/22
Cast: Lori Petty, Yuki Amami, Jason London

"Don't they teach you how to shoot to kill?!?"

A troubled young man named Chris Murdoch (Jason London) falls in love with a Japanese exchange student and decides that the only way they can be together is if he murders everyone who's associated with her. For some reason, she's equally smitten with him and doesn't see anything wrong with his murderous behavior. The main plot revolves around Chris planting a bomb in downtown Seattle that's set to go off on Christmas Eve, which he informs the police about but doesn't offer any demands. He just likes watching the FBI run around like idiots, I guess. Agent Sara Daniels (Lori Petty) is assigned to the case, and a Japanese policewoman named Yoko Sugimoto (Yuki Amami) also shows up attempting to take Kaori back to Japan. This just makes Murdoch angry and even more unhinged, and he takes his frustrations out on the two women with a game of cat-and-mouse and improvised explosives.

Unfortunately, the film makes absolutely no sense and the character motivations are completely baffling. It's hard to sympathize with any of them when they act so illogically and irresponsibly. As a thriller, its attempts to generate tension and suspense fall flat, and the pacing is painfully slow. The logic holes are hilarious and the blatant disrespect of technology makes it difficult to suspend disbelief. Jason London gives a solid performance as a psycho killer, but his unhinged shenanigans grow tiresome after a while. Lori Petty does a fine job as a hot-headed FBI agent, but her pencil-thin eyebrows are a constant distraction. Was this ever a beauty trend? No one else in the film has crazy eyebrows. Yuki Amami is pretty, but struggles with her English speaking role and has little to do. It's not a terrible film, but it's a tedious one, and there are far better ways to spend an evening.