on December 10, 1999 by Mike Kerrigan
Boasting a stellar career spanning more than half a century, Kirk Douglas could have retired with distinction after suffering a crippling stroke three years ago. But once again he has showed us all that it is much too soon to count him out. He has simply been waiting for the right role to come along.
   And in former welterweight boxing champion Harry Agensky, he has found it. For Harry, like Kirk, is getting over a stroke and proving there is still fight in the old pugilist.
   It is a courageous and inspirational performance and Douglas tackles it with his trademark zeal. He allows the pain to show as well as the fallibility. He demonstrates the kind of effort it takes to recover the use of speech and mobility that presumably was close to his own battles. It is like a fighter getting in shape for the crack at the title, only this time the goal is what the rest of us take for granted. But the result is not maudlin; indeed, much of it is upbeat and optimistic. Who knew, for example, that tongue exercises for diction could have recreational applications?
   The story, about the uniting of three generations through the search of a missing fortune in gems, is full of holes and most of the characters are strictly two-dimensional. Dan Aykroyd as Douglas' virtually estranged son and Corbin Allred ("Anywhere But Here") as his distant offspring try gamely with deadly dull dialogue. The big male bonding scene is set in a brothel run by Lauren Bacall, which curiously has six available ladies and not one other customer. Still, this is Kirk Douglas' picture and at 83 he is as welcome on the bigscreen as he ever was. Starring Kirk Douglas, Dan Aykroyd, Corbin Allred and Lauren Bacall. Directed by John Asher. Written by Allan Aaron Katz. Produced by Patricia T. Green. A Miramax release. Drama/comedy. Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug use and language. Running time: 90 min.
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