Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Tango and Cash (1989) - Film Review


*Originally written August 1st, 2017*

"Rambo's a pussy"

Tango and Cash is a fitting end to 1980's action cinema (It was one of the last films to be released in the '80s). It's a mash-up of everything that came before it. So much stuff is thrown at the wall to see what sticks and the result is a wonderfully demented piece of '80s joy. 

Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell are perfectly matched as two hot-shot cops who are forced to work together after being framed for a murder they didn't commit. They have great chemistry and really carry the film together, leading to one of the greatest film-ending high-fives ever put on screen.

The whole film is balls out the bath insanity, riffing off the decade of action films that came before it. There's shades of Commando, Lethal Weapon and Raw Deal in here, but mashing it all together makes way for one of the most unique and beautiful experiences the '80s had to offer.

It upsets me that this film flopped and was so poorly received at the time. Tango and Cash should have been a franchise with at least 5 films at this point. The first 3 being good, then the 4th and 5th killing the franchise for good before the inevitable reboot/sequel in the mid 2010's riding on nostalgia.

I digress. This film on its own is a masterpiece. Every cheesy one liner is so bad, it's fantastic. At one point Stallone even proclaims "Rambo's a pussy". The action is loud, bombastic and over the top. There's a set-piece towards the end at a construction site (A staple of '80s finales) where the bad guy has a never ending supply of armoured monster trucks, because of course, why wouldn't he? While it is violent, I was surprised at how tame it is and still earned an "18" rating in the UK. I guess the BBFC haven't got round to reassessing it yet.

This also holds one of the greatest moments in cinema history (No hyperbole) and that is the scene where Kurt Russell has to escape from a club by dressing up as a woman. I am not joking. It's this sort of unhinged insanity that makes Tango and Cash a joy to watch. If anyone can send me a link to the music where Kurt Russell's revealed in drag, I will love you forever. Harold Faltermeyer delivers one of the best scores of his career with his wonderfully funky beats.

There's a henchman who is meant to be British, but just sounds Australian and it's hilarious. I even wonder if the filmmakers know what a British person sounds like? The bad guys in general are typical '80s fodder, a power hungry crime boss that would feel more in place within a Bond film.

Speaking of Bond, while Tango and Cash is a buddy-cop film. There's a character who is essentially Q from the Bond films. Supplying Tango and Cash with weapons that are clearly not part of any police officer's equipment list. At one point Kurt Russell walks in on him experimenting with a fake dog that has a gun for a mouth for the purpose of "Senior protection".

Tango and Cash is genius. An essential piece of '80s action cinema with two great leads, great action and an insane amount of absurdity on display. Why don't they make films like this anymore?

10/10 Dans

Tango and Cash is out now on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK
Watch the trailer below:
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