Out April 20th / 1988 / 126 minutes / 18 rating / Second Sight / Dir. Martin Brest
Bounty hunter Jack Walsh (Robert De Niro) has got a new assignment, one that could set him up for retirement. He’s just got to get bail-jumping accountant Jonathan ‘The Duke’ Mardukas (Charles Grodin) back to L.A. by midnight on Friday. But he’s not the only one on his trail. The Duke’s just embezzled $15 million from the mob who want him dead, trying to get him first are the FBI who want him to testify, five minutes in his company and Jack just wants him to shut up. It’s going to be a long journey from New York to L.A.!
From the director of Beverly Hills Cop, the Eddie Murphy vehicle that was a big hit in 1984, this movie was the follow up to said title for Martin Brest. In places it has similar tones to his previous film, even some of the same cast, yet Midnight Run works perfectly fine on it’s own merits.
The initial premise for the story, Jack (DeNiro) trying to ‘cash in’ white collar criminal The Duke (Grodin), gives way to a road movie vibe that then turns Midnight Run into a chase movie and finally a buddy movie. Scriptwriter George Gallo handles the many different genres the feature dips in and out of with apparent ease. It’s because of the numerous different elements in the film that make sure it is never boring or lags.
Credit for its exciting tone should also go to the two co-stars, Robert De Niro and Gordon Grodin. They handle anything that is demanded of them. The interaction the two characters have starts off hostile and ends on something more like friendship. Both men make this believable as during the two hour run time they subtly change how they react to each others performance. There are moments in the film when De Niro and Grodin tried to make the other break character or ‘corpse’ (genuinely laugh), hinting at the friendship between them off camera. It is these moments, plus more, that make their roles highly enjoyable.
Other actors that warrant a mention are John Ashton (Jack’s rival bounty hunter Marvin) and Yaphet Kotto (the hulking FBI agent Alonzo Mosely). Both men play characters that manager to win viewer sympathy despite it not being necessary. Ahston had also been in Brest’s Beverley Hills Cop.
Brest presents a high octane feature that, despite it’s straying into other genres at any moment, is slick in appearance and has aged well by 80s standards. The HD transfer on the blu-ray only enhances this, it’s a solid effort. Brest’s work looks fresh and relevant, Midnight Run is a movie that does not need remaking for a modern audience. This re-issue is more than enough to illustrate the features value.
The interviews below were shot in late 2014 by Severin Films…
Interview with Charles Grodin (7 mins) – The co-star of the movie is interviewed about his role. He comes across as a very straight forward, modest man that does not like those that act superior.
Interview with Joe Pantoliano (14 mins) – The low rent Eddie of the feature reflects on how he got his part in the movie. He seems a little cranky and miffed about certain aspects of Hollywood.
Interview with John Ashton (7 mins) – A heartwarming chat with the man that played Marvin. Despite being interviewed outside in the pouring rain he seems in high spirits and is fun to watch.
Interview with George Gallo (24 mins) – The script writer explains how he struggled to deal with such a large story that was crammed with action and comedy sequences.
Audio Interview with Yaphet Kotto (7 mins) – Kotto, the ‘real’ Agent Mosely, talks over the phone fondly about his career at the time and his involvement in Midnight Run.
Original Making of…promo (8 mins) – A fun little extra, this features clips of the movie as well as candid interviews on set with the stars.
A road movie with a real difference, this blu-ray release is a brilliant way to enjoy Midnight Run.