Ever wish you had the chance to get back at the boss who undermined you...the spouse who cheated on you...or the friend who deceived you? One night, a down-on-his-luck businessman, Allan Campbell (Cole Hauser), meets a mysterious stranger, Jonas Arbor (Cuba Gooding Jr.), who claims to be a professional hit man. Jonas offers to take out five targets, free of charge. Thinking it's a bad joke, Allan jots down his own private hit list. The next day, the people he named start turning up dead, and all the evidence points to Allan. Hunted by the police and haunted by guilt, Allan races against time to stop the murders he set in motion. In this world, vengeance always has a price.
Strangers on a Train
receives a post-Tarantino polish in this diverting action movie about the perils of not knowing when to say when. Following a legendarily bad day at the office, a harried engineer (Cole Hauser) lets it all hang out at a bar. Before long, his airing of grievances attracts the attention of a gravel-voiced stranger (Cuba Gooding Jr., wearing what appears to be Tom Cruise's exact suit from Collateral
), who suggests that he make a numbered list of the people who've done him wrong. As the names on the list begin to suffer a slew of mysterious accidents, Hauser begins to suspect that his new friend has an agenda of his own. Although the script stumbles on occasion (particularly when dealing with Gooding's sudden transformation from Zen assassin to rampaging Terminator), director William Kaufman certainly knows how to get maximum bang out of his limited bucks, staging a number of well-crafted action scenes that steadily ramp up to an explosively squib-happy finale. Occasional logic gaps aside, this stands as an above-par example of the modern B movie, with a number of non-formulaic surprises, including a nicely milquetoast performance from the usually villainous Hauser, and a wonderfully garish 007-inspired opening credit sequence. --Andrew Wright