Dead Bang (Review)

dead_bangDon Johnson never had a chance. On the back of his Miami Vice fame, few would have doubted that Johnson could rise to at least Patrick Swayze levels of cinematic fame. With good looks, charm and an everyman quality, there was no reason for him not to carve out a niche. The fact that he remains in the industry to this day is testament to that.

Dead Bang did his career zero favours. And by that I mean the title, because the film itself is surprisingly robust.

Johnson plays Jerry Beck, a grizzled cop with a tendency to use violence to get results and alcohol to wash away the memories. Beck is called in from his latest bender when a convenience store clerk is gunned down in cold blood, followed by a cop who arrives on the scene seconds later, only to be similarly dispatched.

The fact that this takes place on Christmas Eve does little to lend a festive nature to the bloodshed.

With Beck on the scene and following up clues the rest of this is another 80s police action thriller, only with some solid scenes that go above the usual genre fare.

Beck clumsily types out countless reports, has an estranged wife that loathes him and superiors that find him embarrassing but unfortunately good at his job. He engages in a drunken Christmas romance with Linda (Penelope Ann Miller) that he barely recalls the next morning.

Beck cuts corners, takes chances, is drunk by lunchtime, but gets the job done. (Apparently this is all based upon a real life Beck as well.)

In the early goings a still inebriated Beck must take part in a lengthy footchase through the LA streets, which culminates in a capture, then a… ahem… expulsion of the contents of Beck’s stomach, all onto the prone and rightfully disgusted perp.

I don’t know if this is really the ‘highlight’ of the film, but it will likely be the bit you remember.

As the investigation continues the likelihood of white supremacists being behind this crime and others becomes apparent. This brings the attention of the FBI, namely Kressler (William Forsythe) an agent who plays everything by the book and down the line, in other words the polar opposite of Beck.

Kressler and Beck pursue the trail to the deep south of the US, where they realise that white supremacy is perhaps only the tip of the iceberg.

Dead Bang culminates in a loud and quite satisfying shootout in the stronghold of the bad guys, again like many 80s films. While some might decry this as mere formula, it reminded me that sometimes adhering to cliché is effective, and it made me wonder where the good old 80s cop action film went…

Final Rating – 7 / 10. Don Johnson might still be working but he never found fame in these films. A pity, because name aside, Dead Bang is quite a good one.

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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