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Tango & Cash
1989 - R - 98 Mins.
Director: Andrei Konchalovsky, Albert Magnoli
Producer: Jon Avnet, Peter Guber, Jon Peters
Written By: Randy Feldman
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Teri Hatcher, Jack Palance, Brion James
Review by: James O'Ehley
   
Cash: "Where did you learn to drive?"
Tango: "Stevie Wonder."

Now I wonder what was going through the minds of Kurt Russell and Sylverster Stallone when they read the above bit of dialogue from the screenplay of "Tango & Cash".

Did they think: "Wow! This is some clever and funny stuff! I definitely want to star in this movie!" Or was it: "Ugh, this is soooo lame . . . but movie-goers are idiots, and they’ll probably love this crap"?

I don’t know. Stallone has starred in some pretty godawful bad movies in his lifetime; so has Russell. So maybe they did think the screenplay for "Tango & Cash" was pretty good. Who knows? But it is really difficult for me to think that anyone would find the ‘banter’ in this 1989 movie amusing. Each line of dialogue makes one just groan out loud.

The plot is even worse: Stallone and Russell are buddy cops who are framed for a crime they didn’t commit and end up in prison. Seems like the mastermind behind their setup is a heavy played by the ever dependable Jack Palance who has been doing this sort of thing ever since his turn as a meanie gunslinger in "Shane".

Like most movie villains, the Palance baddie just doesn’t kill off the heroes when he gets the chance. No, instead he prefers to toy with them for no apparent reason, except that this is the sort of thing that movie villains have been doing ever since that very first Bond movie.

This of course leads to the bad guy’s downfall.

Our, ahem, heroes escape from prison and track him down. Eveything is blown up in a sequence that involves 4X4s with machine guns mounted at the sides. Why the bad guy would have these vehicles roaming around his property makes no damned sense – unless they were actually expecting two rogue cops also driving a 4X4 with similar weapons to attack them.

Stallone tries to revamp his movie persona a bit. The cop he plays is actually a broker who doesn’t need his policeman’s salary and has joined the police force for . . . I don’t know? The excitement? The sadistic beatings? The blatant racism? Anyway, he wears suits and horn-rimmed glasses typical of the late-1980s (I know: I also wore such a pair back then). Yeah, this is just what movie-goers wanted: a yuppie cop with fascist tendencies . . .

Kurt Russell, with his semi-mullet hairstyle, is all cocky swagger; yet he comes across as strangely effeminate – and I’m not referring to the scenes in which he appears in drag! All of this makes the scenes in which Stallone and Russell share a prison shower all the more icky. They’re buddies, yet, they’re not REALLY buddies . . .

There is something disturbingly homoerotic about how they jostle each other about who’s got the biggest balls throughout the entire movie. Example:
"How come your gun's bigger than my gun, Peewee?" Cash asks.

"Genetics"', Tango replies.

Subliminal homoeroticism aside (think "Lethal Weapon" in the closet), the acting is uniformly bad and the action scenes are too over the top to build any hint of tension or excitement. They’re just loud.

Anyway, I didn’t know how to properly end this review, so I thought I’d include some more sparkling dialogue and witty banter from the screenplay so that you can make up your own mind here. Enjoy.

Cash: "I don't know about you, but I have an aversion to getting F.U.B.A.R.!"
Tango: "What's F.U.B.A.R.?"
Cash: "Fu**ed-Up Beyond All Recognition!"

Tango: "I've got good news and bad news."
Cash: "What's the bad news?"
Tango: "We're almost out of gas."
Cash: "What's the good news?"
Tango: "We're ALMOST out of gas."
 
Movie Guru Rating
A train wreck.  So bad some may find it unintentionally entertaining.
  1 out of 5 stars

 
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