Film Review: Fatal Defense (dir by John Murlowski)


Last night’s Lifetime premiere, Fatal Defense, opens with a nightmare scenario.  Arden Walsh (Ashley Scott) is attacked in her home by a masked intruder.  While her daughter, Emma (Sophie Guest), sleeps upstairs, Arden is bound and gagged in the living room.  Fortunately, the intruder is scared off before he can do anything else but both Arden and her daughter are haunted by nightmares afterward.

What can Arden do to reclaim her safety?

Get a gun.

That was my immediate reaction.  Just go out and buy a gun.  The next time you think that you see someone wandering around in the back yard, fire a warning shot.  If that doesn’t work, aim for the head.  See, that’s one reason why I love my sister.  I may be terrified of guns but she’s a great shot.

However, Arden doesn’t get a gun.  Even though her totally kickass sister, Gwen (Laurie Fortier), suggests that Arden take advantage of her constitutional rights, Arden doesn’t want a gun in the house.  Maybe she doesn’t trust Emma.  Then again, she does live in the People’s Republic of California and it would probably be a lot more difficult for her to get a gun than it would be for me to get a gun here in Texas.  Who knows?

So, since Jerry Brown won’t let her defend herself with a gun, what ever can Arden do?

She and Gwen do a google search for self-defense classes and they come across an old Geocities site for Logan Chase (David Cade).  Logan not only knows how to break someone’s arm but he looks good without a shirt as well!  Plus, he apparently teaches his self-defense class in a tiki bar.  Gwen enrolls and, one montage later, she can now kick ass with the best of them!

(While I understand that you can learn how to do practically anything in a montage, I was still impressed.  My knowledge of self-defense is basically either use mace or, if you can’t get to your mace, yell, “I don’t know you!  That’s my purse!”  and then kick like a Rockette.)

Unfortunately, Logan has some issues.  He seems like a nice guy and a good teacher and it’s kind of sweet in a creepy way when he suddenly shows up at the Los Angeles Arboretum, where Arden is apparently one of two employees.  However, Logan is soon talking about how his ex-girlfriend was murdered because she didn’t know to fight back.  He also has a habit of suddenly yelling about how, if Arden doesn’t learn how to defend herself, she’ll never be able to fight off psychos like him.  That may seem like a red flag but he is kind of cute and that GeoCities web site of his was pretty impressive.  But then Logan suddenly puts handcuffs on Arden’s wrists and locks her in the trunk of his car.  Things kind of go down hill after that…

My twitter friends and I had a lot of fun last night, watching and snarking on Fatal Defense.  It was a fun and entertaining Lifetime film, one that mixed over the top melodrama with some real-world concerns.  (I mean, let’s be honest.  We all need to know how to defend ourselves.  It’s a scary world.)  This is one of those films where it’s best not to worry too much about whether or not the plot totally makes sense.  Myself, I was amazed that Arden could afford such a nice and big house.  I guess the Los Angeles Arboretum pays well.  But, at the same time, that’s why we watch Lifetime movies!  We don’t want to see the cramped apartments that most people live in.  We want to see big beautiful houses and big beautiful melodrama.  On both counts, Fatal Defense delivered.

That said, it’s still hard not to feel that Arden could have avoided a lot of trouble if she had just got a gun.

The only defense you need.

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