Model By Day (1994)

Rating: **
Review Date: 10/25/15
Cast: Famke Janssen, Shannon Tweed, Sean Young

A live action adaptation of Kevin J. Taylor's graphic novel that fails to live up to its source material. Lex (Famke Janssen) is a high end fashion model with a black belt in tae kwon do. When her roommate gets assaulted in the park and the police won't do anything about it, Lex decides to seek vengeance by becoming a masked vigilante. Eventually, her escapades attract the attention of the police, and a copycat female vigilante appears on the scene with a deadly agenda to wipe out the Russian Mafia. Lex has her hands full trying to protect her secret identity, while continuing to bust criminals and attempting to clear her alter ego's reputation by tracking down the fake Lady X. The cops are constantly on her tail, and so is a Russian hitman.

Unfortunately, its attempts at being a gritty sexploitation film are ruined by low budget TV movie sensibilities, and the screenplay is positively cringe inducing. Its take on the fashion industry is a complete joke and so are the action scenes. The characters are annoyingly cliché and the dialog is downright embarrassing. The one bright spot throughout is the incredibly beautiful Famke Janssen, who delivers a performance far above the quality of the script. Her presence is intoxicating, even when she's forcefully (and painfully) overacting, and she has the strength, grace, and physicality to convincingly pull off her alter ego. Unfortunately, the fight choreography and cinematography are appallingly bad, so she never gets a chance to actually show off her moves. Both Shannon Tweed and Sean Young have thankless throw-away roles that simply add quirkiness to the plot and undermine the narrative. It's unfortunate that the film wasn't given a serious treatment and that so much of it was handled with a light handed, adolescent, cable TV mindset. What's really sad is that it's probably exactly what the producers wanted.