by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Several elements of an undercover drug bust operation go awry. First, the police cover is broken and a the bloody shoot-out results in the death of an unarmed woman, which prompts the police to plant a weapon on her and create a cover story. Second, the most important drug dealer escapes. Third, a large haul of heroin is discovered by the cops, but it does not all find its way to the police evidence room.

The officers involved in the bust are soon isolated and murdered one by one. It appears that the escaped baddie is using his gang to get revenge for the bust and the drug rip-off. Finally the cops start turning on one another, each thinking another has taken the stash. The survival of the clean cops seems to hinge entirely on whether they can figure out just who is really dirty, a process which becomes even more complicated when IA and the Feds get involved. Several unexpected plot twists lead to a bloody conclusion in which the final secrets are revealed.

Vice is an independent film produced by actors Daryl Hannah, Matthew Robert Kelly and Michael Madsen, starring ... guess who? ... Daryl Hannah, Matthew Robert Kelly and Michael Madsen. They lined up some  respectable talent to support the script by writer/director Raul Inglis, most notably the cinematographer Andrzej Sekula, whose previous projects have included Pulp Fiction and American Psycho.

The atmosphere is fraught with tension, fueled by paranoia and some substance abuse, so that the tempers of armed people often flare out of control. The cops who are not killed by the avenging baddies are killed by their fellow team members, sometimes in cold blood, sometimes in shoot-outs. The writing and direction are efficient enough that the most important secrets are revealed at the proper times while the action is fueled by a driving score. Some particularly loud and frenetic background noises, which raise the ante on the dramatic tension in several scenes.

There's nothing really new here, but this unrelentingly grim film is competently assembled and held my attention to the end as I tried to guess everyone's secrets. Vice is certainly not for everyone because there are absolutely no light moments, and there's no wit. When not trying to solve the mystery, often by using abusive and illegal tactics on suspects, the cops are constantly on each other's backs. Even the brief glimpses into their personal lives reveal darkness and sadness. Tempers are so close to the edge that somebody occasionally gets mad at someone else and just blows them away. And I'm talking about the good guys!

The film got no takers for theatrical distribution, except for a token release in a few theaters in May of 2008, thus making it one of the strongest offerings to come along in the straight-to-DVD category. If ultra-grim cop mysteries are your thing, you could do a lot worse.

DVD information not available at press time.


  The New York Times


5.7 IMDB summary (of 10)


The budget was $4.5 million.

It has to have opened in one theater in New York on May 9, 2008, as per the NY Times, but Box Office Mojo has no record of it.



  • Male: Darcy Laurie provides full frontal and rear nudity.
  • Female: breasts from Justine Warrington, Brenda Matthews, Sandra-Jessica Couturier, and several unidentified background prostitutes revealed in a bordello raid.



Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a: