Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin go on a MIDNIGHT RUN
“You two are the dumbest bounty hunters I have ever seen!”
One of our favorite subgenres at FC is the road movie and so we’ve picked Martin Brest’s 1988 action crime comedy Midnight Run for today’s mad as hell trailer. Robert DeNiro stars as Jack Walsh, a Los Angeles based bounty hunter who chases all kinds of low life criminals around to earn his cash. When he gets a new assignment from his shady bail bondsman pal Eddie Moscone (Joe Pantoliano) to seek out and bring in Jonathan Mardukas (Charles Grodin) an accountant for the Mob who stole a large sum of cash, Jack jumps right into action. His first problem arises when uptight FBI agent Alonzo Mosely (Yaphet Kotto) finds out he’s on the case of “The Duke” since they want to get to him first. Jack humorously brushes off Alonzo’s threats and travels cross country to NYC where he learns The Duke is hiding out. Using his finely tuned skills Jack swiftly grabs The Duke and gets him on a plane back to LA. Troubles start piling up when The Duke shows a serious phobic reaction to flying which results in him being asked to leave the plane. As we find out The Duke is every bit a good scam artist as Jack is at his job. The two then must get back to LA on the ground. To complicate things further Eddie goes behind Jack’s back and gets rival bounty hunter Marvin Dorfler (John Ashton) involved to intercept The Duke so he won’t have to pay Jack the full amount. On top of all that, ruthless Chicago mobster Jimmy Serrano (Dennis Farina) Jack once had dealings with when he was a cop also wants The Duke so he can get revenge for the stolen mob money. The film is a fast paced, funny as hell, rollicking adventure as Jack and the Duke try to evade all their enemies while making their way back to LA. The snappy, wisecrack filled screenplay by George Gallo is a real gem. Gallo had gotten some good practice in this format since he wrote an enjoyable/underrated buddy comedy WISE GUYS (1986, Brian DePalma) a couple years earlier. DeNiro and Grodin really make a memorable team, they are a kind of traveling Odd Couple who constantly argue and fight and through the turbulent excursion actually get to be friends. One of the film’s highlights apart from the action and laughs is the fantastic score by Danny Elfman, who is best known for his work with Tim Burton. It’s a very upbeat piece of music that just rounds out the excellent production perfectly. If you love road movies and buddy comedies, Midnight Run is a furious classic we think you’ll get a kick out of.