Directed by Walter Hill. 101 mins.
Worth my time? Yes. (Watched on DVD)
Not to be confused with the 2011 Joel Schumacher film of the same title, which you should avoid like a plague wearing Ed Hardy.
I guess you can’t keep Walter Hill down. After the lame Another 48 Hrs. comes this tight neo-noir that mixes John Carpenter (especially Assault on Precinct 13) with John Singleton. As soon as I saw in the credits that Ry Cooder was back in the mix, my spirits were lifted. Plus, the soundtrack features Sir Mix-a-lot and Gang Starr, so that’s a nice bonus.
The unity of time and place throughout most of the film adds an extra degree of immediacy and claustrophobia to the already-high tension. The performances range from good to great, and I loved watching tried-and-true character actors descend into a bottomless pit of greed and panic. Bill Paxton is top-notch as usual (One False Move, A Simple Plan, and this would be a killer triple feature). It’s especially nice to see William Sadler in the spotlight since he’s usually relegated to scrappy Shawshank Redemption-style supporting roles.
The Ices (Both T and Cube) are the perfect adversaries for Paxton and Sadler. One could argue that the way the film portrays its urban drug distribution syndicate – as composed of intelligent, business-savvy people and developing their characters through phone calls and video recordings – paved the way for gritty TV shows such as The Wire. You heard it here first, everyone!
– It’s sort of a mindblinder that Robert Zemeckis wrote a screenplay this grim.
Next up in the Hillmography: Geronimo: An American Legend.
(Seen and originally written on 2013-02-09)