Tango & Cash (1989) / Action-Comedy
MPAA rated R for strong violence, some sensuality, brief nudity and language
Running time: 104 min.
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Jack Palance, Teri Hatcher, Brion James, James Hong, Michael J. Pollard,
Cameo: Clint Howard, Billy Blanks
Director: Andrei Konchalovsky, Albert Magnoli
Screenplay: Randy Feldman
Tango & Cash is a typical 1980s buddy cop movie, whereby much of the fun comes through the repartee between the two rival leads, while they do little more than heckle each other, while making fun of the bad guys, while explosions erupt and bullets fly. it's a far cry from 48 Hrs. and Lethal Weapon, but for those looking for a high-octane, low brain-cell diversion, it may find a guilty pleasure-loving audience with you. it's the kind of fantasy-land movie where cops are super cops who habitually find their antics splashed across headlines in the city's most prominent newspapers, with each bust as important as winning a Superbowl, and then they never have to do any paperwork once it's all over.
Stallone (Rambo III, Over the Top) plays Ray Tango, a flashy narco cop on the LAPD who is all business and efficiency. Kurt Russell (Big Trouble in Little China, The Thing) plays Gabriel Cash, more of a devil-may-care type who just so happens to get the big bust whenever he needs it. Drug kingpin Yves Perret (Palance, Batman) wants the two biggest obstacles out of his way, and hatches a plan that will do it: have Tango and Cash brought up on a bogus murder charge. The cops are initially sentenced to a short stint in a minimum security prison, only to find themselves railroaded (thanks to Perret's influence) to a seedy penitentiary, where their lives are in danger at every turn. They have no choice but to try to escape and clear their names, taking down Perret in the process.
There are some silly hijinks that results in such lowbrow fare as seeing Russell in drag, some gay prison jokes, and the like, but nothing really works as good as the repartee. Palance makes for a formidable bad guy, though he's not nearly given the quality of lines as the protagonists, and he does little more in the film than service the retread plot from time to time. Teri Hatcher (2 Days in the Valley, Tomorrow Never Dies) is memorable eye candy as Tango's younger sister, Kiki, who just so happens to be a stripper. Directed by Andrei Konchalovsky (Runaway Train), replaced by Albert Magnoli (Purple Rain) at some point late in the production), who delivers action with a wallop, though the plot is too generic to elicit any true thrills. Tango & Cash is merely a lot of wisecracks, star power and brutality, and not much else. This may be just enough for some viewers, however, especially die-hard fans of the two leads, both of whom are the best part of this otherwise vacuous attempt at an action flick.
©2012 Vince Leo