This is largely because the film aims itself squarely at the soft-core porn market, which undoubtedly limited its budget. Some rough edges are laughable: the male lead (Anthony Guidera) looks more like a pony-tailed porn star than the cop that he’s supposed to be, and a plot-pivoting car crash is kept eye-rollingly off screen. A bit more attention to character and budget would have been appreciated.
|Athena Massey (left) and Meg Foster in ‘Undercover Heat’|
In the midst of all this disappointment, the film’s copious nudity (in the unrated version) is one of its few redeeming features. So is Meg Foster’s performance, whose understated viraginity as the bordello madame beats the direct-to-video woodenness of other actors like a dominatrix flogging a masochist. It’s like watching a professional thespian slumming in a community theatre. Also deserving a good word is Jeffrey Dean Morgan, whose quiet, unaffected intensity as Cindy’s unexpected ally likewise seems to inhabit an alternate dramaturgical dimension.
If all you want to see is Athena Massey naked, then you probably won't care about my opinions. And if all you want to see is Athena Massey naked, more power to you. But the film’s concept merits something weightier than a cheap, by-the-numbers erotic thriller. As a film about a policewoman enmeshed in prostitution and its paradoxes, Undercover Heat is a bust.
Originally posted at Amazon.com in 2004