Johnny Handsome | Chicago Reader

Johnny Handsome

Mickey Rourke plays a disfigured convict who gets a new face from plastic surgeon Forest Whitaker so he can settle down in New Orleans and get even with Ellen Barkin and Lance Henriksen, who were responsible for his going to prison. Walter Hill directed this 1989 feature from a pulpy script by Ken Friedman (based on John Godey's novel The Three Worlds of Johnny Handsome), and its nasty, predictable plot and unpleasant characters aren't made any more bearable by Hill's customary smoke, sweat, funk, and neon. Practically everyone registers as a silly central-casting gargoyle; even the talented Barkin is twisted out of shape by her grotesque character, and while Elizabeth McGovern fares somewhat better, the only standouts are Morgan Freeman and the imperturbable Whitaker.

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