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Comedy - Police

Stakeout (1987)

Duration1h 57m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Saudi Arabia: PG12
Source of storyAn original screenplay
DirectorJohn Badham
Writers/ScriptJim Kouf
StarringRichard Dreyfuss, Emilio Estevez, Madeleine Stowe, Aiden Quinn, Forest Whitaker, 
RatingsIMDb: 6.6 by 23,288 people. Rotten Tomatoes: 88% by 26 critics.

Elevator Pitch: Chris and Bill are a couple of accident prone Seattle cops who are assigned a job staking out the home of a young waitress Maria, because it seems likely that her violent boyfriend, who has escaped from a penitentiary, will visit her. This is because the FBI are on the case, attempting to recover the proceeds of a bank robbery. Chris is depressed because his wife has walked out on him, taking his furniture with her. He has the task of setting up some listening devices in Maria’s house which he does while pretending to be a telephone engineer, and during a series of incidents gradually gets closer to her. Meanwhile Montgomery, the villain, is on his way. How will it all pan out?

Content: When Chris is casing Maria’s house he observes her taking a shower, and later when they get together it is apparent that they have had sex, and will get to it again. In another strand of the narrative Montgomery breaks out of prison and survives a car chase and shoot out during which his car plunges into a river. The two stake out pairs of policemen play jokes on each other, and quite a bit of time is spent in the derelict house where we observe what they observe of Maria’s activities across the road. The climax, in a log sawing facility, is ingenious.

A View: Even the critics who liked it were a bit put off by the humour of the actual stakeout and the violence of the criminal’s escape the resulting car chase and the massive shoot out during which people died. The latter action means that you can’t really claim that the film is a comedy…or an action film. Aiden Quinn, plays Montgomery as if he is Sylvester Stallone, literally. Was this intentional? But, lets be real, there a lot of half arsed films out there, so if you are looking for something light hearted, then give this outing a go.

Additional Info: This film made a lot of money, so there was a sequel a few years later, not liked as much as the first film.   

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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