8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 21, 1998
'Murder' kills free time
How To Try a Murder
Did the O.J. trial glue you to the television set eight
hours a day ? Do you get shivers when Jack McCoy
gives his closing argument in "Law & Order?" Is
CourtTV your favorite cable channel?
If so, "How To Try a Murder" is probably right up
your alley. Billed as "the handbook for armchair
lawyers," this book goes from the commission of a
murder to the verdict without skip-
ping any steps in between. The
book describes the history and
some of the legalese of our criminal
justice system and at just 194 pages.
is a quick afternoon read.
The book tells the story of a brutal
double murder of a married woman and her
lover. The ensuing police investigation
brings about the arrest and indictment of
Broderick Lane, the husband of the dead
woman. Kurland explains the differences between
multiple state and federal practices involved in bring-
jiiig the accused to trial.
i Next, Kurland discusses the trial preparation and
jre-trial proceedings, starting by explaining the dif-
ferences between first- and second-degree murder
and manslaughter. He also covers the procedures of
discovery, pre-trial motions and recusal.
Meanwhile, it seems as though Broderick Lane is
getting into hot water. There is enough evidence to
withstand a motion to dismiss on the part of the
defense attorney, and it seems as though his alibi can-
not be verified by anyone.
The next section of the book is probably the most
interesting. Two chapters. entitled "The Prosecution"
and "The Defense." cover the ethical and legal duties
of both sides of a trial.
Lastly, Kurland discusses the judge's role in
instructing the jury and the jury's deliberations lead-
ing to the verdict. And there is a huge section dis-
cussing the merits of capital punishment.
What makes this book great is that it mixes an
interesting (though quite short) trial story along with
an explanation of what is happening and how it is
often used in the legal system at large, bringing in
interesting examples from the O.J.
Simpson trial, the Unabomber trial, the
Oklahoma City bombing trial and the
Mcnendez brothers' trial.
The sidebar sections of the book
also gives a great look at the logic
behind the policies that under-
gird the legal system. Abraham
style, the history of the use
of coroner's inquests and the
origins of the insanity defense
are all brought up in the breaks from the text.
Furthermore, the book spends a lot of time going over
complex legal concepts like ex parte and the rules of evi-
dence in language that anyone can understand. And the
author's use of examples sets a guideline that other
authors covering complex topics should follow.
So if you want to understand what's going on in
your favorite courtroom drama without sitting
through three years of law school (or four hours of
LSAT), give this book a try. It s a worthwhile read
that will keep you locked into it until you re finished.
By Matthew Barrett
Daily Arts Writer
Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. East
meets West. The law-enforcing martial-
arts-expert cop from Ilong Kong and
the smart-mouthed cop from Los
Angeles, paired together to rescue the
daughter of the Chinese Consul. The
pair will hate each other before becom-
ing friends and learning to respect their
partner's culture. The audience will be
inspired by their performances, sit on
the edges of its seats as the duo search-
es for the girl and laugh out loud when
they put the hurt on the bad guys.
Well, maybe if they're under 10 years
Courtesy of New Line Cinema
Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan star in the new action-comedy "Rush Hour."
At Briarwood and
character that fans
While the idea
of pairing Chan
with Tucker is the
casting the mar-
tial arts star has
received since his
arrival itt main-
stream U.S. film a
few years ago, it
does not produce
the desired effect.
Chan's Lee is
than the good-
have grown accus-
set. He goes from being a heartless per-
son who couldn't care less about the
kidnapped girl to the one who has to
convince Lee to continue the hunt in a
matter of seconds. No evidence was
given to build up to this, and although
surprises are welcome in today's cookie-
cutter movies, this one does not work.
Tucker also needs to realize that, as a
performer, his comedic strength is in
the verbal, not physical areas. The
scenes where Carter dances over his
victims, struts or teaches Lee how to
dance seem very staged, and they take
away from the story as a whole. Overall
though, Tucker is on the mark and just
needs to find the right type of role
before his popularity explodes.
For a kidnapping movie, "Rush
Football scores aren't the
only ones that matter...
tomed to seeing from the actor of late.
There is nothing more to Lee than his
loyalty to the Chinese Consul, and even
this is underdeveloped. For some rea-
son, Lee considers the Consul's daugh-
ter his favorite pupil, despite the fact
that she usually greets him with a sock
in the gut.
And while his wall climbing, jump
kicking, and fighting are still top of the
line, Chan's acting remains a problem.
Chan doesn't get into the character,
which, coupled with his numerous pan-
icked facial expressions, makes it hard
to take the actor seriously.
Tucker, on the other hand, does an
excellent job keeping the jokes coming,
usually at the expense of his partner.
Carter (Tucker) sees no reason why he
should have a partner and is less than
pleased with having to baby-sit Lee.
Despite his strong comedy, the glar-
ing weakness in the self-centered char-
acter is the instant shift in Carter's mind-
Hour" is pretty light on the suspense and
sometimes overdoes it with the humor.
Yes, this is a comedy first, but when the
humor goes too far, it creates a negatifl
feeling for the film. Every part of thn.
movie doesn't have to be hilarious, yet
the makers are constantly trying to one-
up themselves, with very mixed results.
"Rush Hour" also has one of the
trademarks of a Chan film, the room
loaded with props. The big fight scenes
are set in a bar or some other room
packed with everyday objects that Chan
can use to beat up the baddies!
Another problem is that much of the
film is very predictable, such as wh
Lee is at an art gallery and says "If an.
thing gets damaged ..." Well, surpnse,
the entire art gallery is totaled in the
next few minutes.
"Rush Hour" confirms that this
Jackie Chan thing is getting a little old.
Hie continues to crank out a few films a
year, none of which are very entertain-
ing. The novelty has worn off. Yes, he is
a master at material arts and it is incre ,
ible that he has been able to do all of l
own stunts in so many of his films, but,
remember, he is an actor. This involves
acting, which is something a little mote
than a panic-stricken face when dealing
with the problem.
Granted, Chan hasn't had much with
which to work, in terms of story or
supporting cast in his past few films,
but he needs to try a role different than
the naive hero out to save the day. His
material arts skill is spectacular
watch but he's beginning to get a lit 5
bit like watching a Michael Jordan
highlight video. It's amazing fora
while, but at some point it all begins to
run together. Teaming with Tucker was
a good start, but Chan still has a long
way to go.
Courtesy of New Line Cinema
Jackie Chan goes out on a street post
for his new film "Rush Hour."
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