Working largely in cases of counterfeiting, LA based Secret Service agent Richie Chance exhibits reckless behavior which according to his longtime and now former partner Jimmy Hart will probably land him in the morgue before he's ready to retire. That need for the thrill manifests itself in his personal life by his love of base jumping. Professionally, it is demonstrated by the fact that he is sextorting a parolee named Ruth Lanier, who feeds him information in return for him not sending her back to prison for some trumped up parole violation. With his new partner John Vukovich, Chance is more determined than ever, based on recent circumstances, to nab known longtime counterfeiter Ric Masters, who is more than willing to use violence against and kill anyone who crosses him. Masters is well aware that the Secret Service is after him. Masters' operation is somewhat outwardly in disarray, with Chance being able to nab his mule, Carl Cody, in the course of moving some of the fake money, ... Written by
There are 'Cop films'. 'Buddy' films and 'Partner' films. This one is definitely in the 'Partner' category. With the same kind of magic that Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider shared in Freidken's 'The French Connection'... I just picked up and watched 'To Live And Die In L.A.' on DVD and had my socks knocked off for the umpteenth time!... Those expecting a standard, cookie cutter 'Cops & Robbers' film should go elsewhere. Friedken pulled out all the stops on this one! Taking a small budget and a clutch of then No-Name actors. Planting them in the sections of L.A. no one ever sees. And allowed them free rein to improvise, romp and play. And then, create some of their best work!.. William Petersen plays Secret Service Agent Rick Chance. Who hunts Artists/Conterfeiter/Con, Eric Masters. Played with clever, evil glee by Willem Dafoe, with a passion just short of Psychosis... The segments showing Dafoe making 'Funny Money' are as detailed and astounding as the scenes of him violently tidying up loose ends!... Toss in great location shots. A few startling chases. And a 'conscience' for Petersen, played by John Pankow as John Vukovich. A three-piece, by-the-book agent. Who follows his partner through the Counterfiet World of assorted crime, mayhem, and dirty deals. Into Dante's Inferno. Only to fully evolve in the last fifteen minutes of the film. That must be seen to believe!...
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