Viewed – 21 April 2015 Blu-ray
After reading a review of this re-issue of an acclaimed comedy thriller of the 80’s I recalled seeing some of it late night on TV and always wanted to watching it fully. It follows the story of a bounty hunter / ex-cop Jack Walsh (Robert DeNiro) given the task of tracking down an accountant for the mob ‘the duke’ who has jumped bail and is worth a whole lot of money. The FBI want this guy as does the Mafia, and so on a trip from New York to LA it’s Jack’s job to keep him (and himself) alive.
Very much in the vein of similar eighties comedy thrillers like Beverly Hills Cop, this blends thrills and comedy well, along with a sharp, swear-heavy script that bounces off the page. The squabbling and bickering between DeNiro’s wise-cracking bounty hunter and Charles Grodin’s dead-pan ‘the duke’ forms the heart of this highly entertaining ‘caper’ road-movie. Granted sometimes it is a bit too heavy on the humour and you never really feel anyone is in particular danger, but with decent support from genre regulars John Ashton & Joe Pantoliano as well as well-rounded and fascinating characterisation for the principal leads (their relationship gradually and believably forming into friendship) – this is one 80’s movie that hasn’t aged quite as badly as others and makes for a genuine cult classic.
Sadly, the Blu-ray is a mixed bag. The image quality is decent for an eighties movie and colours and fine detail mostly impress throughout. The soundtrack though, in a choice of 2.0 stereo or 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio has occasional lip-sync issues that let down what is otherwise a crisp and punchy presentation. Extras consist of several new interviews, but no DeNiro (!) and a lack of a commentary means this isn’t exactly a home run.
(the movie) 4 /5
(the Blu-ray) 3 /5