Fatal Instinct is another flick I had to look up the release date of on IMDB because I have little to no memory of when I saw it. I know I never saw it in a theater, and I know now it came out in October of ’93, and I know I saw it when it hit cable a year later, which is how long movies generally took to make it to cable back then, and I know I liked it, but that’s all I know. And it’s all general knowledge I know; I don’t have any specific recollections of its cable debut at all.
I had plans to buy it when it hit DVD back in 2003, but I decided against it when I saw MGM neglected to widescreen it. When push comes to shove I’m okay with releases lacking extras, but they simply have to be in their correct aspect ratio, otherwise I don’t add them to my collection. So I bided my time until a new release came along and it finally has, and widescreen too, so we’re all good now.
This will probably be a short review because I just don’t know how to review this kind of movie in the ways I generally like, with detail and spoilers. Since Fatal Instinct is a slapstick comedy with tons of sight gags that come at you fast and furious and most are hilarious, you can’t really review a movie like this in detail, for the review would be tens of pages long. I would also dread reviewing any of the Airplane or Naked Gun flicks too. I was wondering even how I would get through the Student Bodies (1981) review I previously did, but grinned and bared because I hadn’t seen that one since childhood and really wanted to know if it held up.
So here goes the basics…
What you’ve got here is primarily a spoof of the crime noir genre (1944’s Double Indemnity in one sub-plot) with references to modern suspense flicks like Body Heat (1981), Sleeping With The Enemy (1991), Basic Instinct (1992), Fatal Attraction (1987) and Cape Fear (1962/1991). At least those were the ones I immediately recognized.
Armand Assante (The Prophecy, ’79 version) plays gumshoe, Ned Ravine, who’s a cop and a lawyer, which means after he arrests you he’s qualified to represent you in court, which he does in the opening for the perp he just took down. Kate Nelligan (Dracula, ’79 version, Wolf) plays his conniving wife, Lana, who’s having an affair with mechanic, Frank Kelbo, played by Christopher McDonald (The Faculty). Ned has got a real hot secretary, who’s also got the hots for him; Laura Lincolnberry is her name, and she’s played by the hot Sherilyn Fenn (The Wraith). Aside from having a wife who isn’t faithful, and during the course of the movie decides to kill him for the insurance, he has to contend with the psychopathic fallout he incurs from having an affair with new client, Lola Cain. She’s played by Sean Young (Blade Runner) another hot actress. Yeah, all the actresses in this flick are just plain hot.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention one more homicidal complication that creeps up for Ned. This crazy he put away years ago, Max Shady, played by James Remar (Tales From The Darkside: The Movie, Quiet Cool), is getting out on parole and he’s still pissed Ned put him away. He wants payback.
The Double Indemnity homage comes into play when Kelbo takes a look at the insurance policy and realizes there’s a triple indemnity clause written into it. If the policyholder (Ned) dies under a special set of circumstances (shot with a pistol, then falls from a moving Northbound train and drowns in a freshwater stream) it pays three times the face value of the policy.
“Could happen,” Lana casually remarks.
Most of Ned and Lola’s relationship are riffs on Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction and Body Heat, while Laura has a Sleeping With The Enemy arc with her ex. The death of Shady is hilarious since it takes place on aforementioned Northbound train where Lana mistakes him for Ned and pumps him full of lead, where he then falls from the train and drowns in a freshwater stream.
There’s a nice twist at the end involving Lana and Lola that reveals they’re actually twin sisters, but Lana messed Lola up so bad this one time she had to have plastic surgery and now thinks she’s ugly. This is really a hilarious spoof.
Back on September 22nd Olive Films Gave Fatal Instinct its first ever blu-ray release!
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.85:1 high definition widescreen—5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio—No subtitles
In my previous review of Olive’s The Woods blu-ray I stated of all the blues I reviewed from them this year that one looked the best. I’d say this one would be their second best looking transfer and if you need more of a reason to upgrade from MGM’s previous DVD keep in mind this blu is now widescreen!
- Deleted Scenes With Audio Commentary With Director Carl Reiner And Writer David O’Malley (22:53)
- Theatrical Trailer
- Commentary With Director Carl Reiner And Writer David O’Malley
From what I know of Olive Films I get the picture they don’t generally port over or even add new extras to their acquired films. With The Woods they added the trailer, which the DVD never had, and for this movie they ported over all the existing extras from the previous release, which I was pleased to see, but didn’t expect to.
The deleted scenes are basically all the unfunny or the not-so-funny parts of the flick. They did a good job cutting it down to the most hilarious. In the commentary the biggest regret Director Reiner had was calling the movie Fatal Instinct. It’s original title, evidenced by a couple of cut scenes and the tag on the video, was Triple Indemnity, but it was too close to Double Indemnity and the studio wouldn’t allow it. Mel Brooks came up with the perfect title, which I think was perfect too, Frontal Attraction, but the studio wouldn’t take that one either.