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"MURDER AT 1600"
(1997) (Wesley Snipes, Diane Lane) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Mild Moderate Heavy Moderate Moderate
Mild Minor Moderate None Heavy
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Moderate Minor None Minor Extreme

Suspense/Thriller: A D.C. homicide detective must deal with a growing conspiracy surrounding a murder at the White House.
Washington, D.C. detective Harlan Regis (WESLEY SNIPES) is the city's best and is called by National Security Advisor Alvin Jordan (ALAN ALDA) to investigate a murder at the White House. This doesn't sit well with the White House Chief of Security, Nick Spikings (DANIEL BENZALI), who doesn't want any outsiders involved in the case. He assigns Secret Service liaison Nina Chance (DIANE LANE) to watch Regis and she's none too happy about it. Soon, however, the two of them, and Regis' partner Detective Stengel (DENNIS MILLER), discover that conspiracy and cover ups run deep at the White House and include not only President Jack Neil (RONNY COX), but also his son Kyle (TATE DONOVAN). As the trio gets closer to the truth, they must race against time before more serious complications follow.
If they're fans of the cast or of murder mystery stories, they just might.
For sexuality, some violence and some language.
  • WESLEY SNIPES plays a homicide detective with no discernible bad traits (other than often having an unlit cigar in his mouth).
  • DIANE LANE plays the secret service agent assigned to watch over Regis, who is reluctant at first to help him, but changes her ways when the truth is revealed.
  • DANIEL BENZALI plays the head of security who will do anything to foil Regis and his attempts at solving the case.
  • ALAN ALDA plays the National security advisor who knows more about the murder than he admits.


    OUR TAKE: 5 out of 10
    This is an okay escapist yarn that includes what initially appears will be an intriguing murder mystery story. Fairing better than this year's earlier White House murder story "Absolute Power" (where we know who the murderer is from the beginning), this story has promise but loses momentum when a continuing subplot involving hostages in North Korea keeps coming up. While the two stories eventually connect and prove to be strongly related, the subplot -- as reasons for the genesis of the main story -- is believable, but not overly exciting. Likewise, several chase scenes through buildings and the back streets of D.C. don't do anything for the story except offer some violent and mildly tense encounters. In addition, the movie includes the now obligatory scenes where the characters enter the White House through those sprawling subterranean tunnels that are seemingly easy to access from just about anywhere in Washington. The fact that Snipes comments on certain historical parts of the tunnels is absurd, unless he's already been down there, in which case the point of trying to break in is mute. Snipes plays his typical self assured character who gets to "kick some butt" when needed, but he isn't allowed to do anything we haven't seen before. Lane is rather zombie-like is many scenes and Daniel Benzali will soon replace Donald Sutherland as Hollywood's preferred leading villain. Although the film starts with some promise, it soon falls into the mediocre trappings of so many other political thrillers revolving around murder. We give it a just a 5 out of 10.
    Some profanity, one brief sexual encounter with nudity, and some violence make up the extent of major objectionable material. 3 "f" words and an assortment of others are scattered throughout the film. An early, but rather brief sexual encounter is seen with some movement as well as a quick glimpse of bare breasts and man's bare butt. Violence falls into the standard thriller movie amount, with several deaths, some blood and a few chase scenes. Younger kids probably won't want to see this, but older teens just might. If so, you should check out our content listings before allowing them to do so.

  • People drink in a bar as does Stengel who has had several mixed drinks.
  • People have drinks at a dinner.
  • People have drinks in a disco, and an old girlfriend of the President's son says that she needs a drink. She offers to buy one (bourbon) for Regis and he accepts.
  • Jordan drinks a cocktail.
  • A man has a bloody nose after being punched.
  • A cleaning woman drags her mop from under a bathroom stall door and smears a good amount of blood behind it. We then see a murdered woman in the stall and more blood flows from around her head and some puncture wounds are seen on her body.
  • Spikings' hands are bloody after he's been shot.
  • A small, bloody bullet hole is seen in a man's forehead after he's just been shot.
  • Nina has a bloody shoulder after being shot.
  • A man is riddled with bullets (bloody holes) and leaves a bloody smear as his body slides down a wall.
  • Obviously everyone involved with the cover-up of the murder has both.
  • Nina steals evidence from an archival evidence room to use against the Secret Service.
  • Spikings puts his hands on Nina's shoulders (from behind) as he tries to intimidate her.
  • Some scenes listed under "Violence" may be seen by some as also being tense and/or suspenseful.
  • Regis believes that someone's in his house and draws his gun and walks through his dark home. After a brief violent encounter, Regis then chases after the man.
  • Nina snoops through an archived evidence room and might be caught at any moment.
  • Spikings sends his men after Nina and a prolonged chase scene then follows.
  • More chase scenes occur as Regis and Nina get closer to the truth and to stopping the bad guys.
  • Handguns: Used to threaten, wound, or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • A distraught man holds a gun to his head on the streets of Washington and at times places it in his mouth.
  • Covering up a wrongdoing or crime.
  • Phrase: "Jerking me around."
  • A distraught man stands with a gun to his head, ready to commit suicide.
  • A man is unexpectedly shot.
  • There is a moderate amount of suspenseful music in the movie.
  • None.
  • 3 "f' words (and 1 slang term, "banging," used sexually), 12 "s" words, 1 slang term for male genitals ("pr*ck"), 7 hells, 4 damns, 2 S.O.B.'s, 1 "ass" word, and 2 uses of "Jesus," and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes," "Jesus Christ," "God damn," "Oh Christ," "Christ," and "My God" as exclamations.
  • Two people have sex in the White House. Sexual sounds are heard and some movement, as well as her bare breasts and his bare butt, are briefly seen.
  • The murder victim's bare breasts are seen as she lies on an autopsy table.
  • It's said that Kyle's mission in life is "to get laid in every room in the White House" and that he shared a mistress with his father.
  • Stengel mentions a person "laying the wood to a stripper" (slang for sex).
  • Regis is often seen with an unlit cigar in his mouth.
  • A nervous suspect heavily puffs on the cigarette he's smoking.
  • None.
  • Whether the White House should be above the law.
  • Regis punches a man, who was threatening to commit suicide, to disarm him.
  • TV footage shows American hostages being pushed around by their abductors.
  • Regis and a man fight in Regis' home. Elbows, punches and kicks are thrown as the two battle each other.
  • Nina says the reason she left the detail of guarding the President's son is that she found him beating up a girlfriend which was covered up by the White House.
  • A car crashes while chasing after Regis and Nina and the two then fire their guns into it, (making sure the driver is safely out) causing it to blow up. Nina then shoots out a helicopter's spotlight.
  • Spikings is shot and two men open fire on Regis trying to kill him. He fires back and a big gun battle follows. Regis and a man fight and struggle for the gun and the man hits Regis in the crotch. Regis, however, manages to flip the man over and then break his neck. Nina then shoots at the other man who escapes.
  • Stengel is shot and wounded, and other shots are fired at Regis and Nina who return the gun fire.
  • Regis is attacked and more punching and kicking follows.
  • Nina shoots a man in head who was fighting with Regis.
  • Nina disarms and hits an agent as many others chase after her.
  • Regis fights and finally knocks out two agents in an elevator.
  • The President punches the murder suspect after learning the truth. That man, however, pulls out a gun and fires a shot that strikes Nina. Agents then return the fire and riddle the man with bullets.

  • Reviewed April 14, 1997

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