Bruce Willis plays a tough cop in Pittsburgh.  Pittsburgh?  Huh?  Why are we there?  My guess is that the director — Rowdy Herrington — lives there.   So what haunts Willis in Pittsburgh?  For starters, his fellow cops hate him because he ratted out his partner/cousin, played by Robert Pastorelli.  Pastorelli has anger issues — I know, very strange for a cop — and he has put a suspect in a coma after a beat down.   Now Pastorelli is on trial for the beat down, and the main witness is Willis.   As if all this wasn’t enough, there’s a serial killer strangling women, then tossing them in the water bound in rope and a blanket (Willis thinks it’s an oink).  Plus, Pastorelli’s father is a high-ranking cop, and Pastorelli’s brother is a beat cop. The alcoholic beverage industry must make a killing off these characters.

Soon after “Striking Distance” starts, Pastorelli’s character commits suicide by jumping off a bridge.  The body is never found.  2 years later, Willis is working with the River Rescue police department; and he’s given a hot partner, played by Sarah Jessica Parker (before she physically hardened up for “Sex and the City” and started looking equine).   Parker falls for Willis, even initiating the first moves.  Hey, I get it.  All hot chicks go for middle-aged, balding, mentally anguished alcoholics.

The Willis/Parker romance gets strained when bodies of women start appearing in the water.  The victims are bound in rope and a blanket, but they are shot instead of strangled.  Oh, all the new victims are women Willis has had sex with.  For those thinking they know who the killer is, hold up.  Did I mention that Pastorelli’s ex-cop brother has disappeared for 2 years, and is now back in the city; and he also has violent tendencies, and used to blame Willis for Pastorelli’s suicide?  Did I also mention Pastorelli’s father framed another criminal for the strangulation murders, and seems to not want to entertain the idea that the real serial killer could be a cop?

Memorable, movie moments are hard to find in “Striking Distance.”   But I have to choose at least one, and so…my most memorable, movie moment of “Striking Distance” is the opening sequence when we see a toy, radio controlled, police cruiser moving about on a floor.  The toy vehicle looks very realistic, and I was thinking if engine sounds were added to the soundtrack, and certain camera angles were used, and the motion was slowed down a bit, the toy could pass for the real thing.  That’s the ex-indie filmmaker in me: always looking for ways to do a shot on the cheap.   Yup, that’s my most memorable, movie moment of this movie.  Not the acting, not some action scene, or dialogue that hits you hard in your soul…but a toy car.

“Striking Distance” is a decent suspense/thriller/action flick that you won’t feel upset about if you never watch it.  On the other hand, if you do watch it, you won’t feel upset about devoting 102 minutes of your life to this movie, either.  Kind of like eating a can of spaghetti and meatballs: you’d rather eat something better, but that can did fill your belly a bit; and now that it’s over, you move on and never give a thought about that can of noodles/ketchup/mechanically separated meat stuff anymore.

What comes to mind though, are all those radio controlled, toy cars my parents bought me when I was a child.   How cheap and simple and entertaining they were!  And all suffered from hair spooling up on the axles, eventually binding and overheating the motors.  As I write this, I feel like taking a drive to Toys R Us to treat myself to a more upscale, radio controlled car with a real, working suspension, and drive it on my cement backyard and driveway.  I love going to Toys R Us as an adult and being able to buy whatever I want, while I watch the snot-infested, rug rats have to beg their parents to buy them their toys!

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That’s me and my puppy back in the 90s.  See the radio controlled car in the lower, right hand corner?