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Jack's Back  [DVD] 
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One hundred years ago, a man shocked the world by raping, murdering and mutilating women. Jack the Ripper was never caught. One hundred years since the Jack the Ripper murders in London and someone is stalking the city streets of Los Angeles, killing prostitutes in the same manner and on the same dates as those of Jack the Ripper. A young doctor (Spader) is suspected of the copycat killings. However, when the doctor himself is murdered, his identical twin brother claims to have seen visions of the true killer.
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However, although it is not exactly Shakespeare it is an entertaining diversion. Spader was great at playing two different characters that were identical twins, but with very different personalities. When his twin brother is accused of the Ripper style murders and is himself found dead, his twin is determined to clear his name and find the real killer.
Excellent performance from Spader as usual and a very enjoyable film. As with many 80s films the hairstyles and clothes look silly to the modern eye, but the film itself is an under-rated gem. Strong recommend.
He is marginally better as Rick. As John, he sounds far too casual and even arrogant when asking his boss not to sack him. As Rick, however, he seems somewhat awkward during some of the fighting. It is not clear why. His characters have been getting into fights since "Endless Love", and he is usually convincing in such scenes.
There exist superficial, sex-crazed fans who consider the moment when Rick wakes from his nightmarish vision is the highlight of the film.
He is wearing nothing but underpants, and they are VERY tight.
Sadly, these voyeueristic nymphomaniacs may have a point. The script is not bad, and does not lack twists, but it never really turns into anything special. It toys with the issue of homelessness and then drops it. Considering the "Jack the Ripper" theme, there is less violence against women, and more against men, than one might expect. That is sort of a point in its favour.
It is quite clever the way writer/director Herrington plays with good twin/bad twin stereotypes, and Spader is certainly gifted at playing characters who may or may not turn out to be evil.
What viewers make of the telepathy theme will depend on their individual belief systems. I have been told by two people who have a set of twin cousins (each) that telepathic communication between identical twins definitely exists. I too have identical twins in my family. I haven't detected any ESP so far, but I may yet be surprised.
Cynthia Gibb makes a reasonably good heroine, although better fighting skills would be appreciated. (A pillow? A pillow?) Personally, I do appreciate a strong heroine.
Spader and director Herrington have subsequently teamed up again to make 2 other films. "The Stickup", again written by Herrington, is one of my favourite films. "I Witness" is a very good film that does have something to say about a social issue.
"Jack's Back" is not nearly as good as those films, but it is worth watching.
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