Under the Radar

Pvt. Joker and Rocky Solve a Heist Mystery in 'Backtrace'

Christopher McDonald and Sylvester Stallone star in "Backtrace." (Lionsgate)

"Backtrace" (out now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital) is a memory-loss heist thriller that Matthew Modine shot down in Savannah, Georgia, on a break from his other Georgia job, "Stranger Things."

Sylvester Stallone and Christopher McDonald showed up for a few days to round out the story, but this one squeaks by on an excellent performance by Modine.

Modine's Macdonald was shot in the head during a heist shortly after he hid the money. The brain injury has blocked out any memory of that day. Years later, he's sprung from high-security detention and given a dangerous experimental drug that's supposed to recover his lost memories, if it doesn't kill him first.

Stallone is the crusty cop who's been trying to solve the crime for years, and McDonald is the FBI agent who shows up to bigfoot the investigation.

Have we seen all of this before? Of course, but anyone looking for a movie like this one is also looking for something that follows the rules of the genre. "Backtrace" manages to stay on the familiar path, but there are some twists coming. Why did he commit the robbery in the first place? Who are these people who spring Modine from the joint? And why is the FBI suddenly so interested in this case?

Modine can still act in spite of that weird David Lynch hair he's been sporting lately. There are a lot of Georgia day players in supporting roles; most of them look dazed to be on a set with Rocky or Joker from "Full Metal Jacket," but they just manage to get their lines out well enough to keep the movie from grinding to a halt.

"Backtrace" has some solid action and a mystery that doesn't fall apart when it gets solved. Plus Stallone has one of his most fascinating movie hairpieces, and it's a project that contributed to the south Georgia economy. What's not to like?

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