Monday, January 14, 2013

Midnight Run

Midnight Run; crime comedy, USA, 1988; D: Martin Brest, S: Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, Yophet Kotto, John Ashton, Dennis Farina

Ex-cop now turned bounty hunter Jack Walsh accepts a bail bondman's 100,000 $ task of finding and capturing the fugitive Mardukas, nicknamed "The Duke", a tame accountant who stole 15 million $ from mobster Serrano and gave it all to charity. Walsh arrests him in New York, but due to Mardukas' phobia of airplanes, he has to take him to Los Angeles by a train, a bus and a car. However, Serrano's men are after them, too, in order to kill him. Complicating matters further is a rival bounty hunter and an FBI agent. With the help of a trick, Walsh aides FBI in order to arrest Serrano. He later sets Mardukas free, who rewards him with 300,000 $.

"How much are they paying you to get me?" - "It's none of your business, but I'll tell you anyway just to tell you!" This exchange between "The Duke" Mardukas and his captor, bounty hunter Walsh, is just one of many jokes in this very fun film, that is often based on clever dialogues and comical arguments of the two unlikely characters, who complement each other surprisingly good. The untypically cast Robert De Niro and comedian Charles Grodin play them brilliantly, allowing for sustained, but stimulating exchanges which build a strong chemistry between them. "Midnight Run" is without a doubt one of the best action crime comedies of the 80s, and even though it was not nearly as popular as Brest's previous film, "Beverly Hills Cop", it eclipses him easily due to a refined screenplay by George Gallo. "Cop" and "Run" are only on pair in the similar action sequences, but otherwise "Run" does a better job of an inspired blend of suspense and comedy, whether it is the quietly hilarious sequence of Mardukas freaking out in the plane ("These things are big, they can't go up!") or the running gag of FBI agent Mosley often ending up more incompetent than he actually is. Sadly forgotten and underrated, "Run" is a simple thriller comedy that hides intelligent writing and careful structuring behind it. De Niro and the movie as a comedy or musical were nominated for two Golden Globes.


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