Double Jeopardy (1999) starring Tommy Lee Jones, Ashley Judd, Bruce Greenwood, Annabeth Gish, Benjamin Weir, Jay Brazeau, John Maclaren, Ed Evanko directed by Bruce Beresford Movie Review

Double Jeopardy (1999)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Ashley Judd in Double Jeopardy (1999)

The Female Fugitive

"Double Jeopardy" is a bog standard action thriller which trades on one thing to try and make it more interesting, the Double Jeopardy Clause which to put simply says that you can not be tried twice for the same crime. Unfortunately it is flawed when it comes to the movie because it doesn't take a genius to work out that if Libby goes through with her plans she will not only be committing a second triable offence but a lot of others along the way which will see her back in side and nowhere closer to being with her son. That probably doesn't make sense to you unless you have either watched "Double Jeopardy" or know the story but it does mean that the cleverness becomes stupid leaving "Double Jeopardy" as a routine action thriller which is full of chase scenes and drama none of which is special.

When Libby Parsons (Ashley Judd - Kiss the Girls) wakes up on a boat covered in blood her first thoughts are that something has happened to her husband Nick (Bruce Greenwood - Disturbing Behaviour). It never crosses her mind that not only would the missing Nick be proclaimed dead but that she would end up being accused and sentenced for his murder. But whilst in prison a phone call to her friend Angie (Annabeth Gish) who took in her young son Matty makes Libby suspicious as she recognizes a voice in the background and makes her believe that Nick is still alive, having faked his own death and set her up in the process. Having been paroled after serving 6 years of her sentence Libby has two things on her mind finding Nick to get revenge and getting her son Matty back and no one will stop her not even her Parole Officer Travis (Tommy Lee Jones - Small Soldiers) who ends up hunting her down when she goes on the run.

Tommy Lee Jones in Double Jeopardy (1999)

So "Double Jeopardy" is about Libby who finds herself in prison for the murder of her husband Nick, except a phone call whilst she is inside leads her to suspect that Nick set her up and faked his death. What follows is two things what pertains to be a clever idea and then a lot of routine action thriller stuff, chase scenes, drama etc etc. Now the sadness is that whilst in prison Libby learns from a lawyer doing time that if Nick is still alive she could wait till she gets out and then kill him with no fear of going back inside because you can't be tried for the same crime twice and of course as Libby has already been tried for his murder theoretically it's her get out of jail free card. Except it is a flawed premise and it doesn't take a genius to spot the problem the minute the Double Jeopardy Clause is mentioned because it is a second crime which she would be tried for and even if she didn't get tried for murder the number of crimes she commits along the way would put her back in side anyway.

So basically we have a clever idea with terrible reasoning which means what "Double Jeopardy" becomes about is Libby trying to track down firstly Angie who was looking after her son whilst she was inside and then Nick so that she can get her son back and get revenge at the same time all the time having Travis in pursuit. There is some enjoyment to this such as the way Libby goes about trying to get the address of Angie but some of it is over the top as is some of the action especially a scene which sees Libby trying to escape from handcuffs. But it is all familiar, chase scenes, close calls all the time Libby getting ever nearer to discovering where Nick is, whilst Travis all the time getting closer to where Libby is but starting to believe what she said is true. Wait haven't we been here before with Tommy Lee Jones playing a law type figure hunting down a wrongly accused criminal and beginning to believe they're telling the truth. It is really all that familiar with just some different scenes, some better than others with Libby coming face to face with Nick being one of the movies better scenes.

Now aside from Tommy Lee Jones basically doing the same thing he did in "The Fugitive" but with a slightly more conflicted and less gung ho character "Double Jeopardy" rests on Ashley Judd to make it work. On one hand Judd does because she is watch able, she delivers a few moments of action nicely as well as the romantic stuff at the start. But when it comes to desperate mum trying to see her son again, that just doesn't materialise in a believable way. Having said that the scenes which Judd shares with Jones are entertaining just a shame they're not a lot more of them.

What this all boils down to is that whilst it may sound like a clever movie "Double Jeopardy" is just a basic action thriller with a flawed concept. It is entertaining but not special with only a couple of scenes feeling any different to what you see in a lot of other thrillers.