Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"I'm a white collar criminal"

Midnight Run (1988)
Dir: Martin Brest
Starring: Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, John Ashton

I'm kind of torn about this one. De Niro and Grodin play off of each other incredibly well as a bounty hunter and captive, respectively...but I'm also afraid this may be the movie that led De Niro to believe that he could do comedy, which in turn led to The Adventures Of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Showtime, and even worse those goddamn Fockers movies.

Those crimes against humanity notwithstanding, Midnight Run is a great action-comedy. De Niro is Jack Walsh, a bounty hunter tasked with bringing milquetoast accountant Jonathan "The Duke" Mardukas cross-country to testify against a mobster that he embezzled $15 million from. Naturally, their personalities clash all the while, even as they grow to begrudgingly respect each other.

The stellar supporting cast includes Yaphet Kotto as the imposing FBI agent on their trail, Dennis Farina and his awesome sweaters as the head mobster, John Ashton as a rival bounty hunter, and Joe Pantoliano (with the worst combover of his career) as the bail bondsman calling the shots.

Everyone in the cast gets their moments to shine, and the movie never gets overwhelmed by all the characters or their various double-and-triple-crosses. 

There's plenty of action, but the dialogue is consistently fast and funny, never letting one tone overshadow the other. Despite the comedy, Walsh and The Duke feel like real people, not just constructs of a clever screenplay. Even with the tremendous amount of buddy-action movies released in the wake of 48 Hrs and Lethal Weapon, this one stands out as smart, funny, and exciting. Well worth a look.


JP said...

Hey, I don't know how to go back and edit my own posts! I left out the MPAA rating, which is R. So there.

Butterfly216 said...

This is a enjoyable, funny movie!
DeNiro is funny in the Focker movies...they may not have much depth, but they are entertaining in their craziness. Much different than the laughs you find in this one tho.