Review: Midnight Run

Blu-ray: Midnight Run (1988)

MidnightRunBluMany film fans say that Robert De Niro’s career crashed when he started doing comedy; The ‘Meet the Parents’ films, although financially successful, were to many an abuse of the great actors talents and maybe he shouldn’t DO comedy….well…. many years earlier was a film by Martin Scorsese about a mentally disturbed wannabe stand up comic, obsessed with Jerry Lewis.

The King of Comedy’ was De Niro’s first foray into comedy acting and to many his most underrated performance. The best way to be really funny is to play it straight. In 1988 Robert De Niro was cast as Jack Walsh in Martin Brest’sMidnight Run’; a buddy movie, a road movie, an action film and a hilarious comedy which, for my money, was one of the best films of that decade and also proved that once again De Niro could do comedy and do it very, very well. If John Hughes had made an action film, it would have looked and sounded a lot like this.

Second Sight have produced an exceptional package for the films Blu-ray debut. Stunning LPCM stereo and crisp 1080p visuals throughout, with some excellent special features.

From the director of Beverly Hills Cop came a film that surprisingly is still a little under the radar and hardly mentioned in De Niro’s essential cannon. His performance in this film is perfect, thanks to the razor sharp script by George Gallo. De Niro ranges from hilarious one liners and put downs to real pathos. Jack Walsh is an ex-cop turned bounty hunter, he may be the best at what he does but he is disillusioned after losing his job at the hands of Gangster ‘Jimmy Cerano’ (Dennis Farrina), estranged from his wife and daughter and yet still at war with crime. Walsh is given the job of bringing in Charles Grodin’s ‘Jonathan -The Duke- Mardukas’ , a former accountant of Cerano who stole millions from the gangster and disappeared. Grodin’s desert dry comedic performance is flawless, already established as a reliable comedy actor, his chemistry with De niro is what makes Midnight Run so special in this saturated genre.

Alongside these two Hollywood greats are several other character actors who give equally memorable performances. John Ashton is ‘Marvin Dorfler’, Jack’s rival bounty hunter who steals the duke at every opportunity to bag the bounty for himself. Also in pursuit of the Duke is the FBI led by the typically imposing Yaphet Kotto as ‘Alonso Mosely’. Add to this a highly strung bale bonds man ‘Eddie Moscone’ played by Joe Pantoliano and Farina as our menacing Mafia boss Jimmy Cerano and you have an ensemble to die for. Everyone is at the top of their game and clearly loving every minute. Over the action is Danny Elfman’s most unique score, upbeat blues sounding like Ry Cooder took a happy pill.

Midnight Run is a classic. A complete one off. It’s rare that an action-comedy works so well. Take Bad Boys (which Gallo also wrote), Bad Boys II, Hot Fuzz and Beverly Hills Cop, there are few others I would put next to this awesome movie. Wrought with profanity and nearly every character smokes like a chimney. Men are men in this film, if it were made now it would probably be a PG with Kevin James and Vin Diesel in the leads!

I cannot recommend Midnight Run enough. It’s not aged one day and is still essential viewing.

Special Features all exclusive to this Bluray.   Brand new interviews from all the major stars.

‘WE GOT THE DUKE’ – An interview with Charles Grodin. Nice to see Grodin speak about his love for this film and his chemistry with De Niro.

MOSCONE BAIL BONDS – An interview with Joe Pantoliano – A matter of fact account of his time on Midnight Run.

HEY MARVIN! – An interview with John Ashton – A jovial and funny interview with the star, full of anecdotes and a bitter sweet tale about how he got into acting (I actually shed a tear!) Ashton should write a book about his time on this film.

MIDNGHT WRITER – An interview with screen writer George Gallo – Another Excellent interview I wish was longer. Gallo is honest and hilarious. Why he was not more prolific after this and Bad Boys is beyond me! Someone get this man a franchise!

IM MOSELY! – An audio interview with Yaphet Kotto – Audio recollections from the legendary actor on the experience of being involved with Midnight Run.

Original ‘Making Midnight Run’ promo – A vintage featurette promoting the film with set interviews from stars and director. A lovely way to round off these very special features.

Review by Ramrod (co-host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Aim Publicity and with thanks to Second Sight Films.