Tuesday, September 7, 2010

#75 - Shoot to Kill - 1988

The 5th movie that I chose to watch this week was an older one that I have always enjoyed. It was the 1988 thriller Shoot to Kill. I remember first seeing this film when I was in jr high school with my Dad because it was one he really liked as well. I felt this was a perfect film for this week because it is a very suspenseful film but also has action and even a little humor in it.

This film had a good cast which was led by Sidney Poitier as FBI agent Warren Stantin and Tom Berenger as Jonathan Knox. Jonathan's girlfriend Sarah Renell is played by Kirstie Alley and Steve (the killer) is played by Clancy Brown. I know I have seen this guy before but cannot remember off hand. This film also included the dad from Disney's Mr. Boogedy and an actor who played a serial killer on the TV show Hunter. I always recognize both these actors since Mr. Boogedy was a favorite of mine growing up and that serial killer from the Hunter TV show was incredibly scary.

I really enjoyed the plot of this film and felt it was well written. This movie follows FBI Agent Warren Stantin on his hunt for a dangerous killer known as Steve and he enlists the help of mountain man Jonathan Cox after finding out that Steve is most likely in the hiking group that Jonathan's girlfriend Sarah (Alley) has taken on a week long trip in the mountains. Jonathan wants to go at it alone but Warren does not let him and what follows is an action packed, suspense filled chase through the treacherous mountain terrain!

What I liked most about this film was its action scenes and sequences however it did mix in comedy and the backdrop and setting for this film was extremely gorgeous. I don't know the mountainess range they were supposed to be hiking in but it was very scenic and pretty and provided a perfect atmosphere for this film and its storyline. I love films that have a great atmosphere because that element adds so much to the story and when out in the wilderness there is the vulnerability that you are all alone without help of others and away from civilization and help so it makes it more dangerous and suspenseful.

There were a lot of great scenes in this film. Some shocking, some intense, and some quite humorous. Lets start with the more intense. This film started out right from the beginning with the action and intensity. Only 7 or 8 minutes into the film we see the killer who is holding the wife of a jewelry store owner hostage shoot and kill in cold blood the maid right on the front lawn of their house right in front of FBI agents. With this single shot he was expressing to the FBI agents that he was not to be messed with and this immediately showed them what type of individual and cold blooded killer they were dealing with. This only became more evident when after an exchange of diamonds the killer gruesomely shot in the eye and killed the jewelry store owner's wife at a boat dock and escaped.

I loved how this film took chase in the mountains and Tom Berenger's character Jonathan Knox was a perfect casting choice for this role. His tough rugged exterior and Poitier's character Warren's eloquent soft spoken manner were a mix made in heaven for this film. From their confrontational introduction to their final friendship and in between these two were perfect as partners in crime for this film. On several occasions they helped each other out like the zip line scene where Warren helped pull up Jonathan to safety after his almost deadly fall and the blizzard scene where Jonathan comforted Warren by digging a snow cave to get them out of the cold and in turn save their life. They had all kinds of adventures during their chase including an absolutely hilarious bear encounter where Warren literally screamed and yelled his way to victory over a grizzly. Easily one of the funnier scenes of the film and again an instance where Warren helped save not only his life but that of Jonathan's as well.

When looking back Poitier's character Warren was involved in most of the humorous scenes in the film like when he first attempted to get on his horse and also when he opened the front door to the cabin one morning and was face to face with a Moose. That was funny to me. Back to the more intense and action packed scenes. One of the more notable ones would have been when Steve threw his fellow hikers off a cliff to their death. This was the first time that the killer was exposed in the group. That scene in particular was not graphic in nature but disturbing when thought of in reality. What a terrible way to die. One thing I really thought the producers did well was hide the identity of the killer up until that scene. Adding a couple of actors who sometimes play a bad guy helped with that plus there were some scenes where they tried to fool you into thinking one guy was the killer when in face he wasn't. It kept for a nice guessing game throughout the first part of the film.

The films final 20 minutes really picked up the pace. After a funny and quite sly scene where Warren and Jonathan plot a fake robbery to get information out of a wealthy thief they go to rescue back Sarah. Their chase leads them all the way onto a ferry where the final battle ensues. After threatening to kill Sarah, the killer Steve lets his guard down for just a brief moment and Warren fires at him ripping off half his ear as clean cut as a Mike Tyson bite. After escaping though Steve gets the better of Warren shooting him multiple times and they end up both going overboard and underwater. As they battle each other on their way down to the ocean floor Warren shoots Steve twice in the stomach before putting the gun in his eye and pulling the trigger. We then see Jonathan jump in to save Warren and pull him to safety and all ends well in this well put together and very intense and action packed thriller. This is one that is definitely worth seeing! I give it a firm A!

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