Lori and Bruce play Jill and Jeff Erickson, an attractive couple who finance their perfect life by robbing banks. Jeff wears an obvious fake beard and, because he’s played by Bruce Campbell, it is easy to initially treat his crime spree as being a big joke. Jeff and Jill use their money to buy a big house and to open up their own used bookstore. Their robberies start to get bigger and more elaborate and Jill goes from being a passive observer to an active participant. Jill gets such a rush from the robberies that she can’t stop. While the press treats the two of them like a modern day Bonnie and Clyde, FBI agent Tom LaSalle (Bradley Whitford) tries to bring them to justice before someone gets killed.
Blaze of Glory is based on a true story. The crime spree of Jill and Jeff Erickson also inspired another film, John McNaughton’s Normal Life, which starred Luke Perry as Jeff and Ashley Judd as Jill. Normal Life is told almost entirely from the point of view of the bank robbers while Blaze of Glory, like all of the In The Line of Duty movies, is firmly on the side of law enforcement. Both films tell the same story and stay fairly close to the facts of the case but it’s interesting to see how behavior that was presented as being romantic and tragic in Normal Life is portrayed as being dangerous and arrogant in Blaze of Glory.
Bruce Campbell and Lori Loughlin are the two main reasons to watch Blaze of Glory. Campbell plays Jeff Erickson as being a slightly smarter version of Ash. Jeff may enjoy running his used bookstore and talking to people about literature but he simply cannot stay out of trouble. He has the confidence necessary to rob a bank but he’s also so reckless that he doesn’t think much about what he’s going to do after he puts on his fake beard and fires his gun at the ceiling. Lori Loughlin, having finally escaped from Full House, gives an uninhibited and sexy performance as Jill, who is never happier than when she’s helping her husband to rob a bank. Eventually, she turns out to be just as reckless as her husband and even more willing to fight her way out of a police chase. Campbell and Louglin are so good that it’s too bad that half of the movie is Bradley Whitford as the lead FBI agent and Brad Sullivan as his father.
After sitting out Kidnapped, Dick Lowry returns to the director’s chair for the final In The Line of Duty and it’s one of the best of the series. The action scenes are exciting and Campbell and Loughlin burn up the screen. Blaze of Glory was the finale of In The Line of Duty but what a way to go!