Code 11-14 (2003) Movie Review

Towards the end of the Serial Killer movie “Code 11-14”, and after the serial killer’s identity has been revealed to the audience, the killer radios leading man David James Elliot (who has since figured out the killer’s identity as well) and taunts him with this line, “It sure took you a long time to figure it out.” To which I chuckled and thought, I second that!

David James Elliot (TV’s “JAG”) plays the impossibly unobservant FBI agent Kurt Novak, who is chasing a serial killer that preys on beautiful women in L.A. After a suspect is captured in Australia, Novak flies over to the home of Crocodile Dundee with his neglected wife Michelle (Terry Farrell) and son Johnny (Myles Jeffrey) in tow. After the Australian police decide that they’ve caught their man, the Novaks return home, only to discover that the real serial killer is onboard their plane and this time he’s targeting them!

The first thing that should occur to you it this: “Wait a minute. An FBI agent chasing a serial killer decides that it’s a good idea to take his wife and child on the manhunt with him? No way!” According to writers Kearns and Lafia, “Yes, way.” Directed by Jean de Segonzac, who painted a visually entertaining film with “Mimic 2”, “Code 11-14” is surprisingly very plain. The movie offers nothing by way of visual stimulation, and there’s almost no action until a brief fight between the Novaks (yes, that’s right, all three of the Novaks) and the serial killer at the very end. This ain’t no “Air Force One”, and definitely nothing close to “Turbulence”.

The screenplay for “Code 11-14” is the real villain here. It’s all the more irritating because the film really showed some promise at around the halfway point, when the movie managed to surprise me with its gradually developing suspense. Unfortunately it all falls short because I knew who the real serial killer was the first time I saw him. It also doesn’t help that the film fails to provide any thoughtful red herrings for us to suspect. In fact, I had to delete the name of the actor playing the serial killer from the credit listing because it gives away the killer’s identity.

The star of “Code 11-14” is David James Elliot, whose FBI agent doesn’t exactly give me faith in the observant powers of the FBI. Nanci Chambers, the real-life Mrs. James Elliot, plays Novak’s partner, who helps Novak uncover the killer’s identity from the ground. Terry Farrell has the unenviable distinction of playing the worst mother in the history of movie moms. On at least 4 occasions, and after having been informed by her FBI agent husband that a serial killer is onboard their plane and is targeting them, Farrell’s motherly instinct-challenged mom leaves her son all alone. Gee, I’m so shocked that the serial killer finally abducted the boy. Who would have thunk it?

“Code 11-14” is not a very good movie. It lacks logic on more than one occasion, and its story is as constricted as its plane location. David James Elliot looks the part of an FBI agent, but his character is so dense that one wonders how he ever passed the tests to become an agent in the first place. The direction by Jean de Segonzac is strangely uninteresting and a big letdown considering his previous work.

Also, for a movie about a serial killer on the loose, “Code” has very little gore, blood, sex, or violence. Everything is just so…TV-movie-of-the-week-ish.

Jean de Segonzac (director) / John Lafia, James Kearns (screenplay)
CAST: David James Elliott …. Agent Kurt Novak
Terry Farrell …. Michelle Novack
Nanci Chambers …. Agent Andrea McInroy
Myles Jeffrey …. Johnny Novack

Buy Code 11-14 on DVD