After John Badham’s The Hard Way last Sunday, I was keen to revisit another of his lighthearted action adventures. As we established last week, there are plenty in the Badham back catalogue to chose from. Scanning through my DVD collection I spotted both the Stakeout movies, and before I knew what happened my brain had already decided it was movie double feature time.
Richard Dreyfuss (Chris) and Emilio Estevez (Bill) make for a great double act as bickering detectives. There is a believable father/son quality to their relationship not often seen in cop movies.
Their latest assignment is to stakeout the house of an escaped convict’s ex-girlfriend, they don’t want to do the ‘dirty job” but are faced with little choice. They take it in shifts with 2 other detectives (one played by Forest Whitaker) to provide 24-hour surveillance. Chris soon falls in love with her, and when Montgomery (Aidan Quinn) returns for his stashed money, things get really complicated for our intrepid detectives.
There’s also a inspired moment when Estevez quotes Dreyfuss’ “This was not a boat accident” line from Jaws, I smile for at least an hour every time I watch this scene.
Dreyfuss has a playful comic side, he has portrayed his fair share of serious roles but he always injects some of that trademark wit and boyish charm. Estevez dropped off the map for a while, but from out of nowhere he started directing quietly credible movies. Bobby and last year’s The Way are both well-made indie movies, and shows how much he’s learned since directing bin man comedy Men At Work.
Stakeout is a solid action comedy, although it’s belated sequel is played out for the whole family to ‘enjoy’
Another Stakeout is a complete family movie, lets just be honest and upfront about this from the start. The banter is still there, but the swearing, violence and adult humour has all been toned down.
Madaline Stowe makes a brief cameo and the beginning and end, and sadly Rosie O’Donnell as Gina is an annoying addition to the cast. The plot is thread bare, there are some genuinely funny moments, but you can’t help but feel sad that its been so watered down.
There’s nothing wrong with making an action film for the family market, but retooling something that worked so well as a grown up comedy is a real mistake. That said, when I first watched Stakeout on ITV it was so heavily edited you would have thought it was a family movie anyway.
Misgivings about Another Stakeout aside, I can’t help but enjoy both these movies. It also marks the end of the golden touch for John Badham; in my opinion it was all down hill after this.Pin It