Alright, that title joke got away from me a little bit.
This week, as I study for my non-existent finals and battle the mononucleosis that plagues me, I watch the 1989 action movie Tango & Cash starring the incomprehensible Sylvester Stallone and the mullet-clad Kurt Russell.
The movie has its good parts but overall it’s your run-of-the-mill underwhelming 80’s film
Now I goddamn LOVE Kurt Russell. The Thing is incredible and Escape from New York is one of my favorite films of all time. And later on I might review that or it’s new “recycled in space” cousin, the 2012 movie Lockout.
But for now, once more unto the 80’s, dear friends. Once more.
It’s your standard 80’s buddy-cop movie, starring Sly Stallone as Lt. Ray Tango and Kurt Russell as Lt. Gabriel Cash who must team up together after a crime boss frames the both of them for murder. Hijinks ensue.
The character moments are established early on with Tango staring down a truck full of drugs. When one of the other cops asks “What’s up with him?” Another one replies “He thinks he’s Rambo,” and we all get a chuckle when Stallone exclaims “Rambo’s a pussy”
It then cuts to Kurt Russell’s character reading about Tango’s big bust and talking shit about him. A bad guy then bursts through a mirror and shoots Cash, who gives chase and then pushes a homeless lady out of the way while her shopping cart of cans gets run over.
Cash, determined to catch this random Asian man pursues him in another car and catches him at gunpoint with what appears to be a laser-sight as big as the gun itself.
The big bad crime lord then proceeds to lament the loss of his drugs and money and explains this convoluted metaphor about how Tango and Cash are mice. Or something. And mice belong behind bars. But not, like, bars of a cage- alcohol bars. And then he actually puts the mice in a little maze underneath his bar.
Long story short, Tango and Cash get framed for murder of a federal undercover agent. They then decide to team up and clear their names.
Tango and Cash (the people, not the movie) really mess with the buddy-cop archetypes, usually one of them is straight-laced by-the-book and the other is a loose cannon, or the two cops are from different cultures. But Tango and Cash are really the same person, they’re snarky, cocky, and arrogant- only Kurt Russell is much better at doing it than Stallone. That being said, there are some really fun scenes between the two, such as when the two go to jail and share a shower scene together.
Or as the two walk through general population, and unlike in other prison films, the other inmates are none too subtle about their intentions:
“Cash, I’m gonna put my brown sugar in your ass!”
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times:
Nothing of quality was produced in the 80’s.
When they finally meet the baddie who set them up, the evil mastermind delivers this beautiful gem of a line:
“Just think of me as someone… who doesn’t like you very much.”
YOU’RE A VILLAIN FOR FUCK’S SAKE! TAKE A STANCE! BE ASSERTIVE! I KNOW YOU CAN BE, YOU HAD TO GET YOUR EVIL EMPIRE SOME WAY! YOU ARRAINGED THIS WHOLE THING! YOU SET THEM UP FOR MURDER AND PAID OFF TONS OF PEOPLE TO GET AWAY WITH IT- THEN YOU BREAK IN TO PRISON JUST TO TAUNT THEM AND DELIVER THIS? No. There has to be somebody better. You’ve lost your maniacal villain license. Please hand over your death ray and union membership. 80’s movies always have memorable villains- not necessarily good ones, but ones you remember, ones that are rich and robust, like Clarance Boddicker from Robocop:
Also, the dad from That 70’s Show!
DID YOU WATCH THAT? THAT is how you villain it up. Bad guys in action movies should be slimy and dastardly. We want to root when John McClane drops Professor Snape’s moody ass off the skyscraper, we don’t want to have to think about why he’s evil, we don’t want a flawed character where good and evil are seperated by some muddy gray line. Just give us our cheese-ball villains and hold the subtlety. better yet- just give me something more- anything more, give me someone better than somebody who “doesn’t like you very much.”
Kurt Russell does get some great lines as the gloriously crazy asshole Cash, though. Like when one of said mastermind’s stereotypically British henchmen threatens to slit his throat:
“You wanna cut my throat? Go ahead. You wanna cut my fuckin’ head off and use it for a fuckin’ basketball? You can bowl with the motherfucker for all I care! Just don’t let HIM do it! I don’t wanna get killed by this limey, immigrant JERKOFF! I wanna get killed by an AMERICAN… jerkoff…”
The movie isn’t particularly BAD, but it does feel extremely lengthy It’s 110 minutes long and the two don’t even escape from prison until halfway through to START clearing their names. The film is really slow to take off and it doesn’t go many places from there. There is a bit of chemistry between Russell and Stallone but for the most part they seem to really be acting PARALLEL to each other rather than TOGETHER. They don’t exactly blend together or even seem like they are aware of each other. There are some good parts of this film and the characters are likeable enough but there just doesn’t seem to really BE anything to the film. Other than this man’s catcher’s mitt of a face.
I want to like this movie. I want to like it a lot. But it just kind of leaves me craving more from it. It really had some potential, you get to see the possibility of a really fun buddy-cop action film from two of the best 80’s action stars.
Kurt Russell steals the show for the most part and Stallone straddles the line between by-the-book voice of reason and psychopathic vengefully sadistic killer.
But if you ever wanted to see Kurt Russell in drag and stick a grenade down somebody’s pants… ya know, there’s that…
Overall, I didn’t really either like it or hate it, there were some fun parts, some amusing one-liners like when they agree to shoot out the big bad’s kneecaps, and take him alive- but instead BOTH shoot him in the head, simply saying “My sights are off,” it’s worth a short snicker. But I wouldn’t really recommend this movie.
Next week there’s going to be a magical
MINDLESS ACTION MONDAYS HOLIDAY SPECIAL with singing, and dancing.
Recommend me movies, ask me questions, or send me what you want for Christmas, I may just respond:
or comment on this post