Play Pause

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Retro Review: Tango & Cash (1989)

Tango & Cash
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Teri Hatcher, Jack Palance, James Hong
Genre: Buddy Cop Action Comedy
U.S Box Office Gross: over $63 million

Plot: Framed and sent to prison, two rival Los Angeles police detectives must work together to clear their names

'Old School '80s Buddy Cop Action Romp Gem Amongst The Heavy- Hitters'

Tango & Cash is noted for being the second film featuring Kurt Russell and James Hong, after Big Trouble in Little China, 3 years earlier and the last film to be released in the U.S in the 1980s in 1989 with Kurt and Sylvester Stallone in the lead roles, as the year of 1990 fast approached. It was also beset with production problems throughout. Patrick Swayze was initially in the frame for the part of Gabriel (Gabe) Cash, until Kurt Russell secured the role.

Framed for the murder of a federal agent, two cops, LAPD narcotics officer Ray Tango & LAPD NARC Gabriel Cash each have very opposing ways and views when it comes to dealing with criminals and their own brand of justice, as well as not being able to stand each other. That being said, they have to work together and form an alliance to help clear their names and bring down a crime lord who set both of them up.

Stallone and Russell make for a terrific action duo, with Stallone almost playing against type; refreshingly amusing, sophisticated looking -yet irreverent and sarcastic and wielding a tiny, weeny revolver, with Kurt and his massive gun, although I liked Kurt more - his character Gabe is a little bit of Jack from Big Trouble in Little China, with a bit of swagger and bravado of Lethal Weapon's Martin Riggs and who is less cocky and more laid-back with his amusing one-liners. Stallone here was enjoyable to watch. They have great chemistry together with Stallone's two-dimensional character as Ray and Russell's slightly crazed persona as Gabe. He is a great foil for Stallone and more than holds his own against him. Both looked in terrific physical shape, particularly during the shower scene. Jack Palance is okay as the villain, although both he and James Hong are severely underutilised, which is slightly surprising as he is supposed to be the main bad guy.

This is a film that allows Stallone and Russell to use their considerable screen presence to share witty and humorous banter & to play off each other, as they kick ass. As Tango and Cash, they are one of action movies ultimate duos, with a great RV to match. It definitely has shades of Lethal Weapon in every respect, particularly the comedy aspect and it seems clear the writers of this film were heavily influenced by that film's success and wanted to recreate that magic for this offering. & thankfully, they succeeded. Critics at the time also cited Tango & Cash as ''brutally violent'', yet in watching it, the violence in this film is actually cartoonish in nature and not that bloody and excessive. The action is loud and yet very good, the fights are also good, as Tango and Cash meet their match in a range of different foes. & the comedy is well-conceived also. On recent rewatches, I enjoyed this one much more than Lethal Weapon 2, which was critically well-received. 

With that being said, I must admit it feels a little loose and light in tone and thus had this been made and released in the mid-late 1990s, Tango & Cash would have made for an even better action flick with the added heavier, semiserious feel. The plot, as with all of these buddy cop comedies is nothing original or new, but with everything else, this is a pure out and out action film that is also fun and entertaining at the same time. One highly amusing scene has Cash in drag in an attempt to evade the cops!

And yet, it is the partnership of Kurt Russell with Sly Stallone and the manner of their performances that makes Tango & Cash utterly memorable & fun.

Final Verdict:

One of the most thoroughly enjoyable buddy cop action comedy movies that there is, & though it is ridden with cliches, the way they are conceived is what makes this film highly watchable and a lot of fun. Seeing Snake Pilsen aka Kurt Russell and Rambo himself Sly Stallone together, they make for one impressive tag team duo.

Tango & Cash is a buddy cop action film that doesn't get enough love, nor is it mentioned along the same lines as Lethal Weapon, Bad Boys. Brains, Brawn and humour, it also ticks all the boxes and fulfils the necessary criteria. I would have loved to have seen a sequel released and made in the 1990s.

Coupled with the terrific and lovable buddy screen chemistry of Russell and Stallone, personally, for me, this is far more fun compared to Lethal Weapon 2 that also came out and it is a travesty to me that this didn't do as well and wasn't so well-received in 1989. 

Though it is labelled as a 'so-bad-it's- good' type of action film and for all of the production issues that marred Tango & Cash, this is a gem amongst the heavy hitters. 


No comments:

Post a comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...