'Vice'

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The cliches fly faster than the bullets in "Vice," a B-movie with loftier affectations and all the gritty authenticity of Cheez Whiz.

Shot on the mean streets of Vancouver, the 41 Inc. presentation in association with Arcview Entertainment opens today in limited release before staking out the DVD shelves.

The gruff and gravelly Michael Madsen is Detective Max Walker, a standard-issue racist, sexist, dirty cop with an itchy trigger finger and a weakness for booze and hookers. But hey, he's also haunted by the memory of his late wife and pays frequent visits to his dear old mama, so maybe we should cut him a break.

After a drug sting goes wrong and a whole lot of heroin goes missing, no one is above suspicion, and that goes for Walker and his team, including the mousy Salt (Daryl Hannah peeping out from behind a mane of dark hair) and the decent Sampson (Mykelti Williamson).

Given that Madsen and Hannah were in Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" and cinematographer "Vice's" Andrzej Sekula shot "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction," it's clear whom director-writer Raul Inglis was reaching for, but the leaden exchanges, tough-guy posturing and ponderous pacing stop this wannabe dead in its awfully familiar tracks. (partialdiff)
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