Directed by: Dick Richards, Jerry Jameson
What a piece of shit.
I'm all for a good Burt Reynolds flick, even sub par films that most people don't like from his career, mainly the late 80's. But this one is just horrible. Especially since I had just finished watching his previous big budget film "Stick", which I thoroughly enjoyed. It's like the filmmakers here aren't even trying. It literally looks like a "made-for-tv" movie and it was so bad, I couldn't even finish it.
Now I'm not knocking Burt Reynolds, because the guy can ooze cool without even trying or uttering a single line. I'm talking about the filmmakers here. This is one of the best examples of poor film-making. And I am not at all surprised this film failed miserably. And i'll admit it right now, I have a love for Burt Reynolds. Even in his bad films, the guy is fucking cool. He can do drama, comedy and slapstick, but put him in a tough guy role and he kicks all kinds of ass and owns it! He can out-stare cold any marine drill seargent in a 100 mile radius without flinching. "That's" the Burt Reynolds I love.
What astonishes me the most is how Burt Reynolds goes from "Stick" to this stinker in just 1 year. Now "Stick" was well made, having been directed by Burt himself, and looked good. To his credit, the guy can direct a movie really well. He looked thinner, in better shape and had a sense of bravado throughout that movie. Here, he looks 10 years older, heavier and just doesn't seem to care. And I don't blame him. After reading what went on behind the scenes, he probably just wanted to get the thing done and over with. His career had already been on the slopes for a few years due to poor choices and bad box office performances. So this I think was really the nail in the coffin in terms of his career. And it wouldn't be until "Boogie Nights" that he would regain his footing in Hollywood.
So this was written by, believe it or not the same guy who wrote "Marathon Man", William Goldman, who based this off his own novel. And you know, I can see how this could look good on paper. But the execution was just plain crappy. Horrible camera work, editing, music, you name it. With the exception of Reynolds and maybe Peter MacNicol, everyone here is just bland, bringing nothing new or memorable to the table. And I really have to blame this all on director Dick Richards, who subsequently was fired during filming and replaced by Jerry Jameson..............who also can't direct for shit. I just can't stress hard enough how bad this movie looks. Apparently the legendary Robert Altman was supposed to direct, but backed out in the last minute. So you see that on paper, this thing looked good and had some potential bringing someone like Altman to the table. I mean, come on! William "motherfuckin'" Goldman wrote the script! This is the guy responsible for "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", "The Stepford Wives", "Marathon Man", "The Princess Bride", "Misery", "All the Presidents Men", and "A Bridge Too Far" just to name a few. Do you see where I'm going with this?? It's so frustrating how this thing got butchered during the filming process.
So the story takes place in Las Vegas and centers around Reynolds playing Nick Escalante, though he's credited as Mex in the credits. But I remember everyone calling him Nick Escalante, but whatever.
His friend and neighbor, who is a call girl, gets busted up, humiliated pretty bad and ultimately lands her in the hospital by a spoiled rich kid son of a mafia don and his bodyguard thugs. So she asks Nick for help in getting back at them, both not really knowing who this kids father is and the repercussions. Theres also a subplot involving Peter MacNicol's character, but I'm not going to bother or waste your time. This movie sucks and should be buried deep in the studio's vault somewhere never to see the light of day. Burt Reynolds is an icon of 70's and 80's cinema and deserved so much better than what he got with this piece of crap. His big budget film before this "Stick", which came out a year earlier and I will review shortly, wasn't the best the 80's had to offer in terms of crime or action thrillers, but it was loads better than this in terms of class, taste and overall execution.
If you were ever interested in this one, do yourself a favor and don't bother.
Burt Reynolds deserves much more respect than this.