|Jack and "The Duke".|
Directed by Martin Brest
Produced by Martin Brest
Written by George Gallo
Starring Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, John Ashton, Yaphet Kotto, Joe Pantoliano, Dennis Farina and Philip Baker Hall
This '80s action comedy is a classic buddy movie from the director of Beverly Hills Cop. Jack Walsh (De Niro) is an ex-cop turned bounty hunter, who is fed up with chasing down criminals for a quick payday. When his boss offers him a $100,000 job, Jack finally has a chance to leave the business. His assignment: find and deliver Jonathan "The Duke" Mardukas (Grodin), a former mob accountant who has jumped bail, to Los Angeles in a few days' time. It's a standard "midnight run", but Jack gets more than he bargained for with "The Duke". Traveling cross country, he and "The Duke" must deal with the FBI and the Mafia, if Jack is to get the accountant back on time.
Naturally, a film like this benefits from a good script, but the casting is also crucial to its success. Some buddy movies get one or two of these things right. This film manages to score on both fronts. Gallo's screenplay creates interesting characters, and uses the buddy movie formula without being too plain or obvious. As for performances, De Niro plays up the tough guy role, but he also finds ways to bring out the humor of the situation. Meanwhile, Grodin's deadpan delivery is perfect, and the two have an undeniable chemistry. The supporting cast is also enjoyable, particularly John Ashton's bounty hunter and Yaphet Kotto's FBI agent. While it may not be a film to rank with cinema's finest, it remains a funny, entertaining buddy movie that is one of 1988's best offerings.
Oscar Tally: None