Review by Gil Jawetz posted September 12, 2003

Pam Grier's peak definitely hit in the 70's when she starred in blaxploitation classics like Foxy Brown and Coffy, but she's never far from a renaissance. Quentin Tarantino built his flawed but interesting Jackie Brown around her and she's appeared in Ghosts of Mars and Mars Attacks! (Coincidence? Hmmm...) Pairing her with another schlock-classic legend (Rutger Hauer), 2000's Wilder plays with genre conventions while creating a bizarre rhythm and atmosphere. Mixing Cinemax-seeminess, blaxploitation sass and cop movie cliché, the movie never really gels. That may be due to a number of issues: Firstly, the dialog is a chaotic jumble of posturing and bad puns which, aided by a weak sound mix, leads to a lot of "what the hell did she just say?" moments. The movie's pacing and plotting are haphazard to say the least. Characters appear, disappear, and then reappear without the audience really having a clue who they are. Plot twists pop up randomly and story elements seem cobbled together from a half-dozen unrelated scripts. Noisy neighbors? Evil pharmaceutical company? Mysterious murderer? Throw it all in!

The acting, while never expected to be brilliant in a film like this, is just silly. The supporting players are just ridiculous (I've seen better performances by demons on Charmed.) Meanwhile Grier, whose strong suit has never been convincing performances, is her usual smirky self. She does get to deliver lines like "Love's a rotten alibi. It's like, 'Oh, I loved her so much I couldn't beat her, rape her or kill her!' Not very original!" and "The only chemistry between you and me is gonna be a DNA test," with full sarcasm. Hauer is his usual stoic/kinky self. They are a good match, as long as the material ain't Shakespeare.

While the spectacle of seeing Grier and Hauer falling in love may seem like a B-movie pipe dream, Wilder is mostly Z-grade.

The full-frame video is soft and lifeless. No real video problems emerge but the image just lacks vitality.

The Dolby Digital stereo audio is similarly dull. Voices are muddy and the weird score sounds like it's playing in the next room. Spanish subtitles are included.


Huge fans of the stars may want to see them here but the movie has nothing to recommend it to anyone else.

By Ed Hulse | Apr 28, 2003

Color, R (language, violence, nudity, sexual situations, drug use), 92 min., VHS rental, DVD $24.95

DVD: no extras

Street: May 13, Prebook: now

First Run: Video Premiere

Cast: Pam Grier (The Adventures of Pluto Nash), Rutger Hauer (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind), Romano Orzari (The List), John Dunn-Hill (The Intruder)

Director: Rodney Gibbons


Story Line: Tough, tart-tongued police detective Della Wilder (Grier) and her partner, Harlan Lee (Orzari), investigate the murder of a woman who destroyed the career of her lover, Dr. Sam Charney (Hauer). Charney seems the most plausible suspect, but Wilder uncovers evidence of a conspiracy.



2000 - USA - Action Thriller/Police Detective Film

Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide

Type: Features
Rating: NR (Violence)
Running Time: 92 minutes


Rodney Gibbons directs blaxploitation legend Pam Grier in the suspense film Wilder. Grier plays a cop named Della Wilder who loves to spend part of her day aggravating any abusing husbands or boyfriends who cross her path. She and her partner begin investigating the murder of a woman who was intimately involved with a physician named Sam Charney (Rutger Hauer). Although he appears to be the culprit, Charney starts to look more innocent as he and Wilder uncover a plot by a large drug company. ~



Wilder (2003) - [The Gravedigger]

Although this is pretty much your run-of-the-mill crime story involving police trying to uncover a big business conspiracy, what makes this movie enjoyable is the interaction between Pam Grier and Rutger Hauer. Their chemistry works well. Wilder (Grier) is an unconventional police woman with a personal vendetta against wife beaters, which tends to cloud her judgment on some cases involving women. When a young woman is found dead and the killer is reported as being a large man with blonde hair, they pick up Rutger Hauer, who not only matches the description but had a relationship with the deceased. Grier and her partner harass him a bit, quick to judge him guilty. But then other people are killed. The work of a serial killer? Their investigation uncovers that the woman was part of an experiment involving radioactivity—and soon Wilder’s primary suspect becomes her best assistant on the case. From MTI Home Video.