A complete change of tone for director Michael Ritchie after Prime Cut – here pairing neurotic junior executive Robin Williams with dour gas station owner Walter Matthau after events leave each of them jobless. They end up at a snowy militia-style survivalist camp with an assassin on their heels.
It’s odd, and thinking back, the plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but there is still much to enjoy in terms of performances.
The Terrorists AKA Ransom
Very seventies action-thriller, with Sean Connery displaying once more his endless capacity for accents, here as a Scandinavian detective (the film actually calls the country all this takes place in ‘Scandinavia’) tasked with containing a terrorist hostage-taking outrage.
It’s pretty creaky, but still better than Die Hard 2. Caspar Wrede (who did the One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich adaptation) keeps things moving along, but plot wise it is rather slight, and there is but perfunctory attention paid to making the action in any way believable. Still, good turns by John Quentin as the terrorist mastermind, and Ian McShane as his cohort. Plus an early appearance by Chris ‘Burnside’ Ellison!
And The Band Played On
I’d long thought HBO’s TV movie about the early fight to identify and combat Aids was a compelling work, but this time round it rang more hollow. Still some excellent performances, and memorable sequences, though, including Matthew Modine, Alan Alda, Richard Gere, Saul Rubinek, Ian McKellen, BD Wong, Donal Logue, Lily Tomlin et al. Roger Spottiswoode directs effectively.
Great fun – Whisky Galore! meets Tremors by way of Hamish Macbeth in this low budget comedy/horror creature feature. Richard Coyle is an amiable if alcoholic Garda on a windswept and remote Irish island, which is unaccountably invaded by huge, tentacle and murderous bloodsucking beasties. Backed up by straight-laced mainland cop Ruth Bradley (the Lady Macbeth-like sister from Love/Hate) and big-eared English scientist Russell Tovey he must battle the monsters, with are allergic to booze…
Director Jon Wright keeps things tense, but also allows humour to infuse everything, and his cast – including wonderful character actors like Bronagh Gallagher, David Pearse, Pascal Scott and Louis Dempsey – to get on and have fun. Hopefully we shall see more from him, and from first-time screenwriter Kevin Lehane.
Street Kings 2: Motor City
By-the-numbers straight-to-DVD sequel to David Ayer’s original bent LA cop drama, with essentially none of the same creative talent on board. Uniformly mediocre – at best – with the exception of Ray Liotta, who is excellent, and seemingly performing in a completely different film to everyone else. He plays opposite Shawn Hatosy, which reminds one of Edward Burns trying to outperform De Niro in 15 Minutes. That’s not a compliment.