Saturday 11 April 2015

Midnight Run Blu-ray review

Midnight Run (18, 126 mins)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Once in a decade, or perhaps even less, a movie comes along where the chemistry of everyone involved just clicks and the results are far better than the constituent parts ever suggested they could be. On paper Midnight Run looks like a fairly standard crime caper, wherein a bounty hunter has only a couple of days to transport an embezzling accountant cross country, with both the police and the mob in chase.

But in practice it’s a work of rare brilliance, thanks first and foremost to its miraculous co-stars Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin, a pairing that has rarely if ever been matched in the annals of buddy comedy. Antagonising each other from minute one, both play it absolutely straight and mine every scene for maximum laughs, while director Martin Brest marshals the action superbly.

The structure is airtight, the profanity-laden script remains endlessly quotable, and perfectly cast supporting play from the likes of Joe Pantoliano, John Ashton and Dennis Farina as the bail bondsman, a rival bounty hunter and the gangster with whom De Niro and Grodin both have a connection just adds to the laughs. Throw in Yaphet Kotto as an exasperated fed and what you get is deep fried gold in every scene. De Niro may have sullied his comedy account with junk in the years since but be in no doubt, over a quarter of a century on, Midnight Run is still one of the best action comedies ever made.

You'd struggle to call the upgrade to Blu-ray a revelation, with an image that's generally on the soft side. But scenes have decent depth and detail and it's certainly a step up from DVD.

Extras are interview heavy but they're bang up to date and they're terrific. Top of the tree is Grodin, who talks about winning the role and who else was in the running (including, believe it or not, Cher!) alongside his disdain for pandering to class systems. Joey Pants and John Ashton chip in similarly fun anecdotes about getting their roles and their acting careers in general, and alongside screenwriter George Gallo, each of these chats is well worth checking out. They run over an hour in total, and while it would have been great to hear from De Niro, he probably wouldn't have offered anything remotely as interesting as these guys.