|Index||6 reviews in total|
Between the period when B movies were in theaters and the direct-to-video days of now, there were a number of movies like this made that should have gone direct to video. I can't imagine people enjoying this in theaters in 1987 - even if it had been released in 1977, audiences would have found it flat both in the action and humor departments. There's nothing here that you haven't seen before, so don't shed a tear if you go through life not watching it. The only thing of exception to write about is a mean-spirited tone that occasionally pops up, mostly in the scenes when Bubba's character kills defenseless villains.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Benny Avalon (Smith) is an L.A.-area cop who is beloved in his
neighborhood. He's very close to taking down drug kingpin Ivory (St.
Jacques), but then FBI agent Joe Jennings (Beau Bridges) enters the
picture. It seems Ivory is connected to an extremist group called "The
Sentinel", whose leader is the fanatical Hester (Lloyd Bridges). Now
forced to work together, the hulking Black cop with a heart of gold,
and the somewhat nerdy White agent truly put the "odd" in the phrase
"They're the original odd couple!" Buddy cop movies featuring a Black
guy and a White guy, along with some comedic elements were huge at this
time. The Lethal Weapon series, Downtown (1990), Running Scared (1986),
and many others showed us that differences in race don't matter as long
as you're working together to take down the bad guys. So they obviously
struck a blow for civil rights. The Wild Pair does this especially,
because the supposedly racist hate group headed by Hester actually does
business with Ivory, a Black guy, showing the hypocrisy of hatred.
Okay, I'm being a tad facetious, but it's all there. Beau Bridges shows
off his acting and directing prowess here. He should have been in more
action movies. He even has an homage to Psycho (1960) in the mix as
well to show off his talents behind the camera. But no one really knows
Beau as a director.
Complementing Beau is the great Bubba Smith as Avalon. Known primarily as Hightower in the Police Academy series, here we see another side of Bubba. He's still a cop, but he loves kittens and the children in his neighborhood all know and love him. He even engages poor kids in strange activities such as something called "The Emotional Orchestra", where a conductor with a baton directs groups of kids to laugh or cry on command. Keep in mind this was before iPads and the internet, so kids had to do something to pass the time. Another great facet of Bubba is his high socks. He wears white socks pulled up to his knees consistently throughout the movie (so it can't be a coincidence). This must be a factor in getting kids to love him. Or bad guys to hate him. We're not sure yet.
There are a lot of funny details in the movie, such as the WYC (White Yelling Chief) and his office at the police precinct with a poster that declares "Terrorists". Plus, Hester's grandson (presumably another of the Bridges family) has a My Pet Monster. And as Avalon and Jennings travel through a variety of seedy locations to catch the baddies, they go to an adult movie theater showing Laure (1976) and there'a a poster for Sex World (1978). But there are a lot of the clichés we all know and love as well, including (besides the aforementioned WYC), the prerequisite torture, the barfight, the fact that Avalon and Jennings don't get along at first and are forced to trust each other, and the sax-drenched soundtrack by John Debney, among other examples. If you like this sort of thing, it's here. If not, steer clear. Hey, that rhymes.
Also noteworthy is a small part by Creed Bratton and the fact that the movie includes the mano-a-mano fight we've always wanted to see: Bubba Smith vs. Lloyd Bridges! What other movie can claim that? It really is a sight to see. Finally, The Wild Pair seems to have initiated the box-art formula of "Son-funny name-father". Here it's "Beau Bridges. Bubba Smith. Lloyd Bridges." used to draw in the video store patrons. For The Ultimate Fight (1998) it was "Ernie Reyes Jr. Kimo. Ernie Reyes Sr." It's truly a winning formula guaranteed to bring in the viewing public.
So while The Wild Pair does seem a bit like a TV show or movie at times, and isn't the most cutting edge of all movies, for an unchallenging, mildly amusing Saturday afternoon watch, this should fit the bill.
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This isn't a bad occasional watch. I give Beau Bridges credit. He's pulled off something here in this tight action thriller. Don't underestimate some of it's violence, either. He balances the lead part and director well. Smith and Bridges have made one of the best buddy teams in yonks, considering they get off to a real bad start. Before being thrown up against a wall in a police office, due to one of his wisecracks, agent Jennings (Beau Bridges in a quite mysterious character, I liked a lot) gets in cop, Benny's (Smith) way. Smith was about to question this guy, who undercover cop Bridges, was about make a drug purchase from. This figure leads them to a militant hate group, who hot shot Bridges knew about already. He keeps pulling Bubba's chain, with lies, diverting him from the real truth, only streetwise Smith isn't one to be taken for a fool. One funny example here, that's a kind of diversion from my point, has Smith ditching him in a porno cinema, where an old gay gay, tries to get a bit too friendly. Sunshiny faced Bridges gets it later. Bridges character is so funny, you can't help loving him. The guy heading the militant group is Lyodd Bridges, a fanatic,who trains them young. Father and son actor share a torturer/prisoner scene which was different to see in contrast from their roles in real life. You totally believe by their performances, their characters aren't related. Almost surprising, was other son, Jeff, (the best of the 3 actor family) not popping up in this. Bubba Smith is half the reason to watch it, as his character, a bit of an oddball (not your average cop) coasts through the movie, as a kind of Mr Cool cop, providing some funny moments, one in an early scene, lewdly remarking to another cop, the line ending with... and tweezers". He proves some funny action scenes too. Action is something that doesn't disappoint in this either. A grocery store scene, being robbed, was an excuse for more action, that of course, didn't hurt, in a flick, you shouldn't single out. The end scene with Bridges replacing Smith's cat, who was slaughtered, and footing him with the bill, having Smith chase after him was priceless.
Any movie with Bubba Smith has to be, at the very least, entertaining. This movie is great if you are in a silly mood. Beau Bridges is a pretty awful actor, and Bubba Smith, fresh from his Police Academy days, is no Laurence Olivier. But, you dont rent this movie for that reason. It is a silly, 80's cop caper where there is a joke at least every ten minutes about Bubba Smith's height and strength (he either punches someone out or cannot fit into a care, etc). But, there is an interesting twist with a cat that has yet to be duplicated in any movie I have seen. In any event, you know what you are getting into when you are looking at Beau and Bubba movies and this one is no different. I say rent it, but make sure to rent another movie in the process.
At first, THE WILD PAIR was going to be another in a series of plain vanilla 80s action movies with a top billed cast of popular actors. This one had a little more than I once thought realized. Bubba "Hightower" Smith is still the powerfully brawny, yet funny character that best described him. He's too strong to be cast in an action film as he beats up and shoves criminals too easily with tremendous power, but he does manage to pull off some interesting humor along the way, and he later becomes vulnerable to violent attacks near the end. Smith's move to an action thriller was a good change of pace from the POLICE ACADEMY series, and he does show potential. The father and son duo of Beau & Lloyd Bridges display opposite sides against each other, but remember that B. Bridges and Smith are cops. There are some satisfying action thrills as well as the comedy. It's fairly close to LETHAL WEAPON in a low-end kind of fashion. Just try it.
"The Wild Pair" jumps wildly between comedy, action and drama. Smith and Bridges are mismatched as a pair of cops who stumble upon a hate group out to cause mayhem. The action is brutal, particularly a scene where Smith's girlfriend is butchered. This movie is somewhat of a Bridges family affair: a couple of Beau Bridges' sons are featured in small roles, and his dad Lloyd is good as the head of the hate group.
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