|Star:||Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Hamilton, Robert Vaughn, Richard Jaeckel|
|Cert / Year:||18 - R / 1986|
Unable to acquire important evidence for a Federal court case against an alleged "dummy" corporation for a corrupt Las Vegas company the Feds hire retired thief Quint (Tommy Lee Jones) who does the occasional odd job for them to retrieve a computer disc. Quint manages to break into the offices of the company and steals the disc, but not before he sets off an alarm and is recognized by an old acquaintance / rival who now is in charge of the security for the company that he is stealing from. Naturally he and his security guards give chase and pursue Quint to a gas filling station. Quint manages to escape but not before he stashes the disc in the back of an experimental car that was at the garage. The car nicknamed the "Black Moon" was designed by former NASA boffin Earl (Richard Jaeckal) who is taking it and the test pilot / driver to a prominent Los Angeles club to show it off to prospective investors. Having escaped the security goons, Quint makes it to the club, but the club is hit by a gang of professional car thieves who take everything from the parking lot, including the "Black Moon". Quint gives chase and manages to follow the gang to a huge fortress like skyscraper where he loses them. Still pursued by Marvin and his security goons Quint has 3 days to retrieve the disc before it is needed in court, so he teams up with Earl to try and get the "Black Moon" back by tackling the ruthless car jacking ring head on.....
Typical eighties thriller fare. Good straight forward story, big hair, huge shoulderpads, housebrick sized mobile phones and the odd obligatory car chase. Nothing particuarly fantastic, but an entertaining thriller requiring little concentration or attention, but shamelessly pandering to sleek car lovers this is likely to please some but others may find it a bit painful.
The story itself courtesy of John Carpenter has legs and some good potential but to be honest he should have made the film of this story. At times the direction is terribly cliche, formulaic and the car chases are very Miami Vice in a typically eighties fashion. The direction doesn't just occasionally flounder on the car chase front either, the fight choreography is generally rather poor and at times can be described as farcical but what do you really expect with a low budget thriller like this.
One of the better early performances of Tommy Lee Jones. His quirky portrayal as "professional thief" Sam Quint is an entertainingly good watch. Linda Hamilton is especially wooden here and despite strutting her stuff with huge eighties hair and even bigger shoulder pads, much of her dialogue is corny at best. She works quite well with Jones but they do tend to appear as more of a double act as opposed to "well rounded" characters. Typically camp and entertainingly bland performance by Robert Vaughn as obligatory bad guy Ryland the head of a car-jacking business. Amusing supporting performance by Bubba Smith as a Federal agent handling Quint's "job", a far cry from the American football field or the Police Academy movies where he made his name. Unsurprisingly Nick Cassavetes crops up as Ryland's henchman Luis. Unfortunately his "acting" ability hasn't improved since The Wraith, not that he has a great deal to do here but he is entertaining in a piteous sort of way. Even William Sanderson manages to out act him whilst playing a mute character.
There is a very familiar feel to the film during the opening credits and it's only when you see the on-screen credit appear that you realise what it is. The film has a familiar sounding theme and music courtesy of Lalo Schifrin and the opening sequence is almost identical to one of several 80's tv shows. As for the car?. The "Black Moon" is a typical example of the over indulgent 80's love of rigid lines, low clearance and boxy looking vehicles that either run on air or water. Obviously derived from a Lotus Esprit for basic shape, the car itself looks cool in its own charming way but raises a scoffing chuckle nowadays, especially for the films finale. What you see of the car is fun but the best parts are early in the film and you eagerly anticipate the next chase sequence or something else to take your mind off some poor direction.
An eighties fest of music and kitsch style. Cheesy but cool and there are much worse films out there. Worth a watch even if it is for a laugh.
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