Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Movie Project: Shoot to Kill

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
After stealing some diamonds and killing two hostages, a mystery man blends in with a fishing party as a means to escape across the U.S.-Canadian border. An FBI agent teams up with an outdoorsman to hunt him down and rescue the outdoorsman's kidnapped girlfriend. 

Memorable Quote:
How do I know you're not going to lower me down?  ~Stantin
Because I said so, you son of a bitch! Now tie on while I'm still in a good mood!  ~Knox

I like Tom Berenger's performance as the mountain man and hermit.

The bad guy's reveal to the fishing party was disappointing. I'm so familiar with The Invisible Killer (more on that later) that I was expecting a similar lengthy build-up where we got to know about each of the fishermen and had a chance to go back and forth on who the guilty one was. Instead, we only got a few scenes with minimal character development before the reveal, and the most potentially interesting part of the movie was over before I knew it.

Most interesting piece of IMDB trivia:
Sidney Poitier's first acting role in eleven years.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • I'm taking a little break from my Die Hard watch, which is a break from my Indiana Jones watch, which is a break from my MacGyver fan fiction, which is a break from my podcast, to watch Shoot to Kill for the first time. This is the first in my series of Movie Project movies with a strong MacGyver connection. Not only was the classic MacGyver episode The Invisible Killer seemingly inspired by this movie, but it was also filmed in Vancouver at the same time (1988) as MacGyver, so there are a ton of familiar names and faces:
    • Harv Zimmel, who wrote The Widowmaker, as one of the screenwriters.
    • Milton Selzer as the jewel shop owner in the beginning. He appears in The Lost Amadeus and The Wall, where he also plays a shop owner.
    • Walter Marsh as the guy they talk to in the parking lot who works for the guide company. He took a memorable turn as General Racoubian in Lost Love.
    • Claire Vardiel as Mildred, the woman who complains to the police about her house being broken into.  She was in many MacGyver episodes and is most famous for her "Ain't you just the one, Ducky?" line from Legend of the Holy Rose.
    • Blu Mankuma as an agent/policeman. He was in three MacGyver episodes, including The Invisible Killer.
    • Jerry Wasserman as an FBI agent. Unlike the others, I didn't recognize him while I was watching the movie and only saw his name afterwards on IMDB.
  • The opening at the jeweler's house and the pier is strong, although it's never stated how the feds know to investigate the jewelry store in the first place. It's also weird how Sidney can hear the voice whispering to him from the other side of the pier.
  • Speaking of Sidney, he's 61 during this movie and looks good for his age.
  • Just like The Invisible Killer, there's a bridge in the wilderness that needs crossing, and there's one guy in the group who's scared of heights and has trouble crossing it.
  • 38:57 mark - One of Berenger's ropes breaks as he's making his way across a ravine, and he crashes into the mountain (twice, actually) with such force that he would surely be dead. Somehow, he comes out of it without a scratch.
  • Kirstie Alley delivers a dispassionate, uninspiring performance as Sarah, and there's no real connection between her and Berenger.
  • Why doesn't the FBI get some planes to surveil the area?
  • Berenger and Sidney's ice cave looks really nice, although digging a cave that big with a small bowl would take weeks. 
  • 1:11:28 - As the bad guy stops a truck and boards it with Kirstie, Berenger inexplicably doesn't shoot the tires with his rifle, instead choosing to chase the truck and then falling down in despair.
  • 1:15:45 - Things start to go off the rails when the accomplice is tied up and convinced in 5 seconds that his house is about to be burned down. 
  • Weird scene at the city plaza where the bad guy decides to bring Sarah along to his meet and hold her hostage in a public place. Sarah, for her part, is an agreeable hostage and doesn't try to fight back in the slightest.
  • That brings us to the ending on the ferry where things really go off the rails as Sidney gets shot three times in the chest and falls overboard yet somehow manages to hold off the bad guy and shoot him underwater. Berenger jumps in to save him and then the movie abruptly ends.

Final Analysis:
Not a good movie. I was expecting some intrigue along the lines of The Invisible Killer, but The Invisible Killer is exponentially better. The first half of the movie has some promise, but it loses its way in the second half. While it was nice to see some familiar MacGyver names and faces, I'm ranking this in the Yikes tier. 

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