Monday, January 16, 2012

Midnight Run: DeNiro Does Action-Comedy (Or What More Could You Want?)

The film Midnight Run is one of those rare gems you find once every blue moon. For starters it's one of Martin Brest's few films, and arguably one of his best. If I had to decide between Midnight Run and Brest's earlier action-comedy, Beverly Hills Cop, I'm not sure which one I'd pick. They're both so damn good.

                                                 This One...
...Or This One
Secondly is that it's also one of Robert DeNiro's few comedic roles. It's true. Big Boss Bobby D's done some comedic roles before, but it's rare to see the man crackwise so much without being a mobster. In fact, DeNiro's so in-character and in a comedic mood throughout, he actually carries a good portion of the humor in the film. Watch as he and Yaphet Kotto spar in this scene to great comedic effect.

Finally, Midnight Run is one of those great films that encapsulates just about everything you could want in an Action-Comedy--with a solid cast to back it up. It's the story of a down-on-his-luck ex-cop turned bounty hunter named Jack Walsh, (Robert DeNiro), who is forced to track, locate and then trek across the U.S. from New York to L.A. with an awkward, former Mob accountant named John "The Duke" Mardukas, (Charles Grodin), as his prisoner. What ensues is a bond of friendship forged on the road through hilarious circumstance as the two of them are chased by the F.B.I., the Mafia, and another bounty hunter out to steal Walsh's prize. Don't believe me? Here's an epic car chase from the film. And when I say epic, I mean EPIC.

And just for good measure, here's another car chase scene. Only this time it involves a helicopter. Yeah.  A motherfuckin' helicopter. See how "two of the dumbest bounty hunters ever" get out've that one.

Alright, let's not beat around the bush. Let's get to what ya'll came for: the breakdown!

The Breakdown
  • Ridiculousness: Make no mistake. This is a ridiculous film. And yet the premise, while containing it's fair share of plot holes (why is Jack so much more resourceful then both the FBI and the Mafia in finding "the Duke"; why, if "the Duke"is such an integral witness against Serrano, not placed on a flight-risk and put under surveillance when released for bail; etc.), actually holds water to a degree. I can buy Jack Walsh's predicament and past. Probably because DeNiro sells it so well. 3.5/5 Stars
  • Classiness: In terms of class, well, Midnight Run certainly has plenty of believable characters although "classy" wouldn't be the term I'd use to describe'em. Crude. Crass. Spunky. Those are the type of adjectives I'd use to describe the characters of Midnight Run. Grodin's character is the only one out've the bunch that has an honest and genuinely classy bone in his body, but still, even with all the grime and grittiness all the other main characters of Midnight Run display, there's still a measure of rugged, tough-guy kinda classiness that can be felt and seen throughout the film.  4/5 Stars
  • Cheesiness: This film could have very easily gone the way of nachos and been cheesy from start to end. Yet, as I mentioned before, there's a certain air of machismo about this action-comedy that lends it a certain sort've credibility and lessens the severity of any cheesy bits there might be. 2/5 Stars
  • Hilariousness: Okay, now this is a funny film. When I first saw it, it had me laughing from the opening credits onwards. And yet, while I thought the film was quite humorous, for whatever reason, maybe from knowing how hilarious and awesome Beverly Hills Cop was, I was expecting maybe a little bit more out of this one. Still, a great watch for some good laughs. 3.5/5 Stars
  • Awesomeness: an Awesome film. With a total Awesome rating of 3.25 Stars, Midnight Run manages to tie with it's predecessor Beverly Hills Cop. Robert DeNiro is often hailed as one of the greatest dramatic actors of his time while people say pretty much the same thing about Eddie Murphy as a comedic actor. This shows that, if DeNiro had a mind for it, he could come out swinging and give Murphy a run for his money. At least when it comes to comedies. Dramas...well, Murphy needs to shape up or ship out. DeNiro would wipe the floor with him. Raging Bull style.

There it is. Midnight Run. In all of its bounty hunting glory. Until next time film fans.

- Duke

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