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Cleaner
DVD disk
06.12.2008 By: Mathew Plale
Cleaner order
Director:
Renny Harlin

Actors:
Samuel L. Jackson
Ed Harris
Eva Mendes

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
At his latest job, a crime scene cleaner (Jackson) accidentally covers up a murder...
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Samuel L. Jackson is one of the few actors around who can afford a hefty chunk of mediocrity and trash on his resume—he’s just got too much presence to hold xXx and The Man against him for longer than their running time.

His latest bad picture, Cleaner, directed by Renny Harlin (who collaborated with Jackson on The Long Kiss Goodnight and Deep Blue Sea, speaking of bad pictures) went straight-to-DVD last month, snubbing North America for a shot at the renowned silver screens of Finland and Denmark.

Jackson is Tom Cutler, ex-cop and current owner of Steri-Clean, a company that specializes in Spic-and-Spanning your carpets and linoleum floors after a homicide or, say, 45 cats died in your kitchen. Enter the flat characters livened by their Hollywood counterparts: Ed Harris (as Cutler’s former partner), Eva Mendes (whose husband has vanished), Luis Guzmán (the detective on the case), and Keke Palmer (as Cutler’s daughter, Rose, who’s more or less there to remind us of her motherless adolesence).

But despite the terrific chemistry of the cast—Jackson and Palmer especially—the mystery and suspense are noticeably absent for a movie about a man inadvertently covering up a murder. In the end, I’d much rather hear Jackson discuss his handicap on The Late Show.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary with Director Renny Harlin: Harlin is hit-and-miss here, dishing equal time to the production process and kissing his actors’ asses. And did he just take credit for discovering Keke Palmer?

Deleted Scenes (15:17): The six here (‘Walk Through,’ ‘Post-Cleaning Picnic,’ ‘Rose’s Insomnia,’ ‘Tom’s Nightmare,’ ‘Tom at Ann’s,’ ‘Tom Trashes Keys’) don’t so much add to the story, but we do get additional moments between Jackson and Palmer. Fans will appreciate these more than others.

Previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
It's easy to forgive Jackson, Harris, and the young Palmer, since their work here is solid. Renny Harlin and screenwriter Matthew Aldrich? Not so much.
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