Thursday, July 10, 2008

Best Defense

Best Defense; comedy, USA, 1984; D: Willard Huyck, S: Dudley Moore, Eddie Murphy, Kate Capshaw, George Dzundza, Helen Shaver, Tom Noonan, David Rasche

Two parallel and connected stories: in '84, the African American soldier Landry is a tank commander who tests the newly implanted targeting system which malfunctions when Iraq invades Kuwait... In '82, everyone thinks that the targeting system was invented by Wiley Cooper, but he only got it from a Russian scientist who gave him a diskette before his death. Wiley doesn't want to tell the truth because his female colleague from works thinks he is a genius, and wants to sleep with him. But the government and agents know about everything and drag Wiley into fighting with spies. Shot in the arm, Wiley still manages to improve the system that saves Landry's life who destroys a helicopter with his tank.

Weak and overstretched action comedy with only a few accidental fun situations, "Best Defense" is today forgotten and is only remembered occasionally for coincidentally predicting Iraq's invasion of Kuwait 6 years later, and for the encounter of comedians Dudley Moore and Eddie Murphy for the first and last time on the big screen, becoming one of the worst films of both of their careers. It's a pity that Moore and Murphy do not have a single scene together because Murphy's story was added later into the film after the disastrous public test screening in '83, thus crafting two parallel stories separated by a time period. Besides the fact that microphones are visible in some scenes, the direction by Willard Huyck is hopelessly sloppy, the story filled with illogical plot holes (the hero is shot, but still manages to fight with his enemies) and annoying hysteria, so the best jokes are located in the first half: for instance, just when Wiley is about to become intimate with a woman, they are interrupted by secret agents who storm into the room while some old lady measures his waste, so Wiley randomly says: "My waist is 26 inches wide, can I have it until Monday...What's going on here?!"; whereas David Rasche has a very good cameo role, which slightly recovers the whole rest of the bad story.


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