Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Favorite Era: Midnight Run (1988)

One of the great things about Robert DeNiro is his ability to surprise the viewer with a performance.  A great example of this is Jackie Brown where he forgoes his usual loud, intense routine in favor of coming off as mellow to the point of being seemingly unsure of himself.  Another fine example of his skill is Midnight Run where he shows that not only can be be a stunning dramatic actor, but he could also do comedy.  Not just the occasional bit of dark humor, I'm talking full blown, laugh out loud comedy.

DeNiro plays Jack Walsh, a former Chicago cop turned bounty hunter who has to bring in accountant Jonathan Mardukas (Charles Grodin) in order to make a tidy profit.  Opposing him are as follows: the FBI led by Yaphet Kotto, a rival bounty hunter played by Beverly Hills Cop's John Ashton and the mob, led by Jimmy Serrano (Dennis Farina) who Walsh holds a grudge against.

After Mardukas refuses to fly, it turns into a buddy/road/chase picture with the two men being pursued by the law and the mob.  DeNiro and Grodin have great chemistry, Grodin is generally a fairly solid comic actor and surprisingly enough he can hold his own with DeNiro.  Both guys have plenty of funny moments and, shockingly enough, one or two nice dramatic bits.

On the supporting side of things, the two best are the late Dennis Farina as Serrano and Joe Pantoliano as the bail bondsman Jack works for.  Farina was always good and here he;s both hilarious and intimidating.  As for Pantoliano, he's always been a reliable character actor and here he gets to play, for a change, a slimy jerk who is actually on the side of good for once.  Yaphet Kotto and John Ashton are also fun in their parts and the overall tone of the film is helped immeasurably by Danny Elfman's peppy soundtrack.

Midnight Run is a nice surprise in that it still works even after all these years.  The story is a little predictable but the actors are so energetic and fun to watch that it doesn't really matter.  It's quite simply a fun classic.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.