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The Presidio
1988 - R - 97 Mins.
Director: Peter Hyams
Written By: Larry Ferguson
Starring: Sean Connery, Mark Harmon, Meg Ryan, Jack Warden, Mark Blum
Review by: John Ulmer
"48 Hours"--two mismatched cops. "Red Heat"--two mismatched cops. "Lethal Weapon"--two mismatched cops. Do we really need any more entries into this genre? No. But at least the preceeding films had either a level of wit or chemistry--perhaps both--that made them quality entertainment. "The Presidio," a cop-buddy film with Sean Connery and Mark Harmon, is nothing special at all. It's routine and boring, and if that wets your lips then dig in.

Mark Harmon plays a Chicago cop brought in to investigate the murder of a fellow officer of the law. Sean Connery is his Scottish partner, a hard-nosed fellow with an attractive daughter (played by Meg Ryan) who takes a liking to Harmon (by matter of script cliches). They hit it off much to the chagrin of her father, who continues to be paired with the young American. They end up in the usual car chases and on-foot pursuits.

Action purses around just about every corner. There's a chase where Harmon is leaping over the hoods of cars and Sean Connery is dragging behind, looking very much out of breath and tired.

But this is a boring film--one that put me to sleep in the first minute and, from the looks of it, many other people, too. Connery tries hard to fight against the material, but Harmon is the film's primary flaw--he's like Kevin Costner on sleeping medication. Meg Ryan is the typical sweet Girl Next Door love interest, but she would display much more acting skills in the next year's "When Harry Met Sally" with Billy Crystal.

The script leaps all logic. It's as bleak, dry and typical as a film in this genre can get. I expected a nice source of entertainment in this film. It not only does not entertain, it literally repulses the viewer. Sean Connery and Mark Harmon have no chemistry on-screen. They pretty much just run about screaming at each other. Sean Connery has the Straight Man role that Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny Glover and Nick Nolte have all played before. Which leaves room for the Comic Loose Man. But Harmon isn't a comical guy, and he isn't as loose as he is just plain ignorant. This is a poor example of buddies.

The movie was directed by Peter Hyams, who obviously needs a lesson in how to properly construct a fast-paced and engaging cop-buddy film. This movie suffers from lack of pace and lack of solid direction--one of its biggest flaws apart from casting decisions. Not only that, but the writer, Larry Ferguson, needs to take some lessons in how to cross the boundaries of a regular script and breathe into his characters life. There's a difference between written characters and typed characters. His are in the latter category.

The movie is 97 minutes long and it feels two times longer. I recently saw a buddy flick called "Hollywood Homicide" with Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett. Even that film was better than this--and "Hollywood" is making my list of the worst films of 2003. Only really big fans of Sean Connery should venture near this. And the fans of Mark Harmon should all be taken out to a field and shot.
Movie Guru Rating
A train wreck.  So bad some may find it unintentionally entertaining.
  1 out of 5 stars

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