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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The clever caper film is a genre not really understood by today's
generation -- although kudos to film buff George Clooney for his
splendid remake of Oceans Eleven which gave some younger viewers a
taste for what this is about. I can see where these characters might be
less accessible to today's viewers, but if you can get past that and
enjoy, this is a great deal of fun -- and the cast is hilarious.
Retired Detective Lee J. Cobb and his wife are taking a bus trip from Seattle to San Francisco to visit relatives. Along the bus route, Gig Young and his gang (Geoffrey Lewis, Matt Clark, and Robert Walden) each commit one of the most quirky and brazen jewel thefts imaginable, then board the bus. Lewis is especially good as the goading robber making his heist at a swank affair. Walden is fun throughout as the anxious klutz and weakest link of the group. At every stop, Cobb picks up the newspaper and cannot let go of the mystery. Passenger Young offers his curiosity and assistance, and the cat-and-mouse game is afoot.
As contrived as Columbo? You bet! -- and just as much fun as some of the best episodes. Still, I wouldn't have given this classic made-for-TV caper film a 10 if not for the perfectly executed final sequence of scenes. Justice does triumph -- in a sense -- but not necessarily in the manner you might expect.
Ridiculous, rhinestone, detectives vs. diamond thieves made-for- tv mayhem that rips off the viewer. Even the usually palpable directing of the innovative Dan Curtis ("Dark Shadows") cannot rescue this dry-ice, frozen tv-dinner turkey! An early scene wherein a crook kayos a cop, steals his uniform, leaves him tied to a toilet, then releases a tear-gas/smoke bomb for diversion, should be sufficient warning that this deep-freeze dud itself is a COMPLETE BOMB! Maybe if they'd waited twenty years they could have hired Ice Cube and Ice Tea for the lead roles! (and Vanilla Ice could have sung the theme song "Ice Ice Booby!")
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