This is a blog which primarily gives some attention to movies that I find were overlooked (for whatever reason) or are simply underrated. I also comment on other, mainly movie-related issues as well. I welcome any suggestions for films to be added to this distinguished list.

One word of warning: The films listed below contain spoilers, so caution during reading is required.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Shakedown (1988)

"Happy is the fleeting hope of youth."
"Who said that?"
"Me. I'm gonna take the streets, Richie."
"Good for you, counselor. Me, too."
-Roland Dalton and Richie Marks.

If any film cliché could be called 'old before it was new,' it is that of having two detectives being 'forced' to work together and then becoming friendly by film's end (although second place on that list would certainly be the guy who pines for a hot girl without realizing that his devoted friend, who's a hot girl herself, is a better match for him).

While some films that have this cliché, such as Lethal Weapon (1987), were very successful, others, such as The Presidio (1988) do nothing new with that point.

One reason I enjoyed Shakedown is that it doesn't waste our time with the two heroes becoming friendly because they already are when the film opens.

Our heroes in this case are public defender Roland Dalton (Peter Weller) and narcotics cop Richie Marks (Sam Elliott). Dalton is defending crack dealer Michael Jones (Richard Brooks) who is accused of murdering a NY police officer. Jones claims the killing was in self defense, which prompts Dalton to go to Marks, who is the only cop Dalton trusts, and see what he can find out.

As fate would have it, the prosecuting attorney in Dalton's case is his former lover Susan Cantrell (Patricia Charbonneau). Dalton soon resumes his affair with her despite the fact that he's engaged.

One of the funniest moments is when we first meet Marks, who spends his nights at a movie theater. There is also a thrilling moment when Marks chases a suspect onto a roller coaster, which is soon derailed.

Dramatically speaking, this film doesn't break any new ground (corrupt police are a film cliché in themselves), but it's fun watching pros like Weller and Elliott share the screen. One could call their characters two sides of one person, with Dalton being the legal side and Marks being the action side.

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