Midnight Run (1988)

Directed by Martin Brest

Starring Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin

In honor of a recent madcap midnight run I just had through the city the other night, I thought it apropo to review one of my favorite road movies. Part action, part comedy, this film is 100% entertaining from start to finish with strong comedic performances by De Niro and Grodin. The on-screen anti-chemistry between the two places them among the top comedy duos in cinematic history alongside Martin and Lewis, Lemmon and Mathau, and dare I say Shatner and Nimoy (STVI: Voyage Home)? Yes I dare.

The story follows tough-as-nails ex-cop Jack Walsh (De Niro) who is tasked with bringing in mob accountant John Mardukas, aka the Duke (Grodin). What seems like a simple job at first explodes into twisted imbroglio of double-crosses, betrayal, and mishap as Walsh is beset on all sides from completing his mission. There’s the mob boss that wants the Duke’s head and Walsh dead, the FBI and cops who want the Duke for themselves, and the rival bounty hunters that want the payday for bringing in the fugitive.

What makes this film click is the constant nagging banter from Grodin’s character and De Niro’s dry sarcastic one-liners. The interaction between Agent Mosley and Jack is also hilarious, Walsh constantly stealing Mosley’s cigarettes and sunglasses. The action is great, the dialogue funny, and the plot plays out with a satisfying conclusion that ties all the warring factions together…and they say “fuck” 132 times. Just…try to ignore the fact that Brest went on to make Gigli 15 years later.

Other Notable Films by this Director:WarGames (1983), Beverly Hills Cop (1984), Scent of a Woman (1992)

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