Cinemax Friday: Relentless IV: Ashes to Ashes (1994, dir by Oley Sassone)


Sam Deitz (Leo Rossi) is back to hunt one last serial killer in this, the last of the Relentless films.

This time the killer is a boring nonentity.  He’s not as interesting as the killers played by Miles O’Keeffee or William Forsythe.  Nor is he as unintentionally funny as the one played by Judd Nelson in the first Relentless film.  Instead, he’s just your run-of-the-mill religious fanatic, killing sinners and performing rituals.  His trademark is that he only kills the person that he wants to kill.  Anyone else who might be around is just taken out with a stun gun.  That’s a boring if considerate trademark.

Deitz is assigned to track down the killer, along with his new partner, Jessica Pareti (Colleen Coffey).  While Deitz is trying to solve the case, he’s also having to deal with his rebellious teenage son (Christopher Pettiet).  Between this film and the last, Deitz’s ex-wife died and now Deitz is a single father.  He and his son barely know each other.  Deitz tries to keep his son under control while all his son wants to do is spend time with his girlfriend, Sherrie (Lisa Robin Kelly).

Relentless IV is the least interesting of the Relentless film.  It’s so trapped by the now-stale Relentless formula that not even the casting of Famke Janssen as a possible femme fatale can save it.  Janssen is a psychiatrist who is connected not only to one of the victims but possibly to the killer as well.  She and Deitz are obviously attracted to each other and Deitz is torn between that attraction and treating her like a possible suspect.  The relationship between Deitz and the doctor has potential but it keeps getting sidetraced by scenes of Deitz trying to deal with his teenage son and it never really lives up to what it could have been.  Janssen is beautiful and Rossi gives a typically good performance but watching the film, it’s obvious that there wasn’t much left to do with the character of Detective Sam Deitz.

Direct-to-video mainstay Oley Sassone directs in a flat and unmemorable manner and the entire film just seems tired.  When the best your serial killer can do is kill someone with a Campbell’s soup can, you know you’re running on empty.  There would not be a Relentless V.  Hopefully, Sam Deitz finally found some peace and figured out how to balance being an intense New Yorker with living in laid back California.

One response to “Cinemax Friday: Relentless IV: Ashes to Ashes (1994, dir by Oley Sassone)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 10/26/20 — 11/1/20 | Through the Shattered Lens

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