“In Las Vegas the wedding chapels are just like the casinos. There open 24 hours a day and the odds are against you.”

Mike Hammer (Stacy Keach) is asked by an old acquaintance, Johnny Roman (Edward Winter), to come to Las Vegas to work on a palimony case. Hammer refuses. Later Hammer is kidnapped, drugged and tossed out of a plane over Las Vegas wearing a parachute. When he confronts Johnny, Johnny denies knowing anything about it. He still wants Hammer to help get something back from his ex, Barbara Leguire (Kelly Jerles). Hammer still refuses until Johnny is murdered on the stage of a televised telethon for a children’s hospital.

The hotel security officer Leora Van Tres (Michelle Phillips) and her backup break into Hammer’s hotel room. They find a suitcase with bomb making equipment and Hammer is arrested. He is bailed out of jail by Helen Durant (Lynda Carter). She and her husband Carl (John Calvin) run the children’s hospital. She tells Hammer that Johnny had a diary that had some information about her that would ruin the reputation of the clinic if it got out. Then Johnny's ex, Barbara, is found dead and Hammer is again blamed.

Hammer is now looking to clear his name. Each time he gets a lead either someone dies or it goes nowhere. It doesn’t help that just about everyone is lying to him in one way or another. Helen had told him that she was pregnant with Johnny’s baby and married Carl who raised her daughter Amy (Stacy Galina) like she was his own. She also said Amy didn’t know anything about it when Amy actually knew everything. Now Hammer wants to know the real reason Helen is looking for the diary and he’s still no closer to finding out who is killing everyone involved.

“Murder Takes All” AKA “Mike Hammer In Los Vegas” was released in 1989 and was directed by John Nicolella. It is a made of television crime mystery and the fourth of the four Mike Hammer films starring Stacy Keach. The character Mike Hammer was created by Mickey Spillane.

This movie is a little more tongue in cheek than the others. It started losing its hardboiled veneer from the very beginning when Hammer meets the girl of his dreams in a bar. Then when he is tossed out of a plane over Las Vegas it pretty much jumped the shark. He also managed to find his hat when he landed. In addition, he manages to fall from a skylight and land on a crap table where he breaks a couple ribs. He ends up in various fist fights and is stranded in the desert where he gets a ride from a dirt-biker. The incongruity of Mike Hammer in Las Vegas is also a bit of a sight gag as well.

If you’re trying to follow the plot you may have some trouble. There are MacGuffins galore here. There are also some loose ends that weren’t explained sufficiently. It was an entertaining movie but the comedic elements kind of overshadowed the detective elements. It’s far from the standard Mickey Spillane thriller.

Jim Carrey, who plays Amy’s boyfriend Brad Peters, has a significant part in the movie.

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