During the trial of a man accused of his father's murder, a lone juror takes a stand against the guilty verdict handed down by the others as a result of their preconceptions and prejudices. The film is adapted by Reginald Rose from his own 1957 film version (directed by Sidney Lumet) and from the Westinghouse One television production that predated it. George C. Scott won a Golden Globe for his supporting role; righteous juror Jack Lemmon was denied such an honor for Best Actor, but recipient Ving Rhames (for Don King) dedicated his award to Lemmon.
|Release Date||:||August 17, 1997|
|Production Company||:||MGM Television|
|Production Countries||:||United States of America|
|Director||:||William Friedkin, Newt Arnold|
|Casts||:||Courtney B. Vance, Ossie Davis, George C. Scott, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Dorian Harewood, James Gandolfini, Tony Danza, Jack Lemmon, Hume Cronyn, Mykelti Williamson, Edward James Olmos, William Petersen, Mary McDonnell, Tyrees Allen, Douglas Spain|
|Plot Keywords||:||judge, jurors, death penalty, evidence, right and justice, jury, remake, trial, guilty, argument, xenophobia, attorney|
If you have seen the original "12 Angry Men," it's hard not to classify this film as inferior. The acting was better, the cinematography was better, the pace was faster. The cast in the remake is talented, just not as talented. Even the great George C. Scott couldn't quite measure up to Lee J. Cobb. Even the great Jack Lemmon couldn't compare to Henry Fonda. The only actor I felt was an improvement was Mykelti Williamson, who delivers a powerful and disturbing speech towards the end. I see him in mostly small, supporting roles, where he doesn't really get to show off his talent. In this film, Williamson gets the chance to flaunt his overlooked acting chops. One actor who I felt was a big step down was Tony Danza, who doesn't measure up at all to Jack Warden. Danza does an OK job, but dramatic acting isn't his forte. Sitcom acting is his strongsuit. Edward James Olmos does a fine job, but it took time getting over his phony accent. That's right, he's been in this country so long that his Latino accent sounds phony.
Nevertheless, the acting is good and the film really muscles up during the third act. If the director sped up the pace and the camerawork wasn't as clumsy, this could've been a much more compelling film. But to be fair, it's a tough job measuring up to the original. We've all seen and heard much of the dialogue (which is almost word-for-word from the original script, only with a few obscenities, one racial slur and modern references like "Fat Albert" added), so hearing it again is like listening to a stand-up comedian using his old material. Funny stuff, but we've heard it before. Only a good comedian will usually maintain a good delivery of the joke, while the delivery of some of the old dialogue is limp this time around.
My score: 7 (out of 10)