Michael Madsen and Chris Penn: a combination surely designed to set the hearts of fans of low-budget, direct-to-VHS fare aflutter. In Serial Cops
) grizzled federal agent Jason Enola (Penn) is exhausted, divorced and close-to-insane himself after spending the last decade unsuccessfully hunting down the vicious "Papertrail" serial killer (named, in literal-minded fashion, after the cryptic notes he leaves with the body of each victim). Suddenly, after a four-year hiatus, Mr Papertrail re-enters Enola's life, embarking on a new spate of grisly murders--only this time he (or she) is also providing a running commentary to hapless shrink Dr Alyce Robertson (Jennifer Dale). Enola, with trusty sidekick Brad Abraham (Madsen) in tow, sets off once again to try and nail the bad guy for once for all.
Pure by-the-numbers schlock from the opening credits onwards, Penn and Madsen nonetheless conjure up the odd spark of broad, buddy-movie humour between the gore and cod-psychological waffling, while Damian Lee's direction gets us from A to B with a commendable lack of fuss (even if his few attempts at moody set-pieces indicate that's probably out of necessity). Serial Cops is cheesily harmless, for sure, but if you're after a gritty, even halfway believable serial killer flick you might be best advised to give this a skip. --Danny Leigh