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Despite what some people have said about this movie, I must tell you I
thoroughly enjoyed it. Sean Connery, as always, gets into his character Lt.
Col. Caldwell very well (he should be cast as a military officer more
often). Meg Ryan, though limited in screen time, shines as his daughter
Donna...they're father-daughter sessions make for some good
Mark Harmon, who for some reason hasn't received many offers to star in big movie roles, plays Jay Austin. He's a cop who used to be an MP at The Presidio, the base at which a murder takes place. Harmon does an excellent job, both as Donna's lover and Caldwell's unwanted partner.
The fact is, the performances are wonderful, the story is fascinating, and the chase scenes create pulse-pounding excitement. If you like action, romance, drama, and a little humor every now and then, I recommend The Presidio.
A Military Policeman investigating what looked like a break-in at the
Officer's Club at the Presidio in San Francisco is shot down. The same
man also shoots an SFPD officer while fleeing the first crime. This
makes the whole thing a dual jurisdiction between the Army and the
local law enforcement.
Hard enough normally, but in this situation you have a detective played by Mark Harmon who's a former MP who has a bad history with Sean Connery the provost marshal in charge at the Presidio. Though they hate each other's guts they of necessity have to work together.
Sean Connery is one of those players who just being in a film elevates in class. Without him in the thing this would be just a routine police yarn, might have been good enough for a made for TV film and nothing more. Another conflict in the film is Connery with daughter Meg Ryan who takes an interest in Harmon at first to spite dad, but then finds herself falling for him.
Acting honors in this film go to Jack Warden the retired sergeant major who won a Congressional Medal of Honor saving Connery's life in Vietnam. Warden and Connery keep you interested in the film, in finding out just why the MP and the SFPD officer had to die. Without them, I doubt anyone would care.
Harmon and Connery turn in decent performances. Meg Ryan is way over
the top as spoiled sex-pot provost's daughter. The rest of the cast is
only competent, but they aren't being asked to do more. Serviceable
location photography of San Francisco, competent editing.
Otherwise this is a completely formulaic buddy-cop action film of the later '80's. Totally predictable plot about diamond smuggling. No complications.
And no sense of humor. The best films of this genre had heavy doses of comedy - 48 Hours, Beverly Hills Cop, Lethal Weapon. If there's anything supposed to be amusing here, I missed it. Instead we get a pretty unbelievable romance taking up that space.
There's also a barroom brawl that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the story whatsoever. Perhaps that was supposed to be amusing. I just felt confused and depressed.
Despite the title, this has very little to do with the famed military base. The film does try to convey a "the Vietnam war is over" salute to the soldiers who fought there, so I guess it gets a point for social conscience. The rest is just a waste of talent, locale, and audience interest.
This story looks like other drama/action movies. The story take place at
Presidio (military base) and is nothing new (a criminal investigation
military lines) but Meg Ryan, Sean Connery, Mark Harmon plays it so well
that the thin story becomes a minimum. Though it isn't a complete love
and have a little attention to it, Mark Harmon and Meg Ryan does it very
well. She has a complex since her father (Sean Connery) probably spent more
time doing the army instead of his wife (her mother). She cannot
her mind on one man for long. Of course he (Mark Harmon) falls in love with
her after a few love scenes, and at a party he get furious when she wants
dance with another gentleman. They come apart. This is when I noticed that
this movie was about love. At home she have a little fight with her father
over the problem, and as a solution to this she goes back to Mark Harmon's
apartment where she apologize. When the story reach top and they solve the
puzzle the end comes very quickly, but as they walk away hand in hand I
like something else has been solved. The love between father and daughter,
and of course between daughter and her lover (Mark H.).
See for yourself Meg Ryan is made to be a father's darling.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Detective Jay Austin (Mark Harmon) was sure that somebody wanted
something badly from the storeroom that night
So he broke in and
killed his friend, an MP, Patti Jean Lynch (Jeanette Goldstein) during
her routine patrol
Austin used to be an MP under Lt. Colonel Caldwell's (Sean Connery) command He thought he could use the Colonel's help avoiding other channels His instinct tells him that the bullet belongs to someone on the base What we get here is an investigation involving both the Army and the San Francisco Police Department
Now, while Caldwell considers Austin a man who has no respect for women and he'll use his daughter (whom he loves too much) to get at him his friend, Sgt. Maj. Ross Maclure (Jack Warden) knows that Donna is not a little girl anymore, and that her father doesn't want her to grow up
As a woman in love, Donna (Meg Ryan) knows that her father and Austin don't like each other So she decides to find out about Austin, and about that incident in the Presidio, where the female MP that was shot to death was with Austin when he busted Colonel Paul Lawrence (Dana Gladstone)
The investigation takes a turn when Caldwell knew that Arthur Peale (Mark Blum)a former province adviser to the CIA in Vietnamowns the Black Mountain Water Company Slowly, he begins to perceive that there's a piece missing, something worth killing for
The film carries two car chases in the streets of San Francisco, a good fight in a bar, and a climactic shoot-out in a water bottling plant
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the first few minutes we witness the shooting of a woman who is a
stranger to us. This is followed by a car chase through the Presidio
and up and down the hills of the city. One of the cars in pursuit runs
off the road. The remaining car in pursuit smashes into another
vehicle, twirls through the air, and explodes on impact with the
pavement. The next scene involves one of those police-station
encounters in which a prisoner grabs a gun from one of the cops, and is
faced down by the hero while the other police offers stand nonplussed.
Not a promising start, right? We've seen it all before. More than once.
Yet I kind of enjoy this movie and watch it once or twice a year if nothing else is on. The action sequences are well staged even if they're not believable. (Sean Connery, confronted by an ornery Hells Angels type, defeats him in combat while using only one finger.) But Connery is as good as ever, which is to say ultra-reliable and likable. Mark Harmon may not produce celluloid magic but he's likable as well, given that the role isn't especially original. He's an ex football player and it shows. He does at least some of his own physically demanding stunts while chasing a bad guy through Chinatown. He leaps nicely from roof to roof along a row of stalled cars. Meg Ryan is foxy and aggressive and there is a sexy and funny scene between her and Harmon. I've always admired Jack Warden too. Anyone who successfully leaves Newark, New Jersey, behind gets my vote.
The plot. Alas. I hate seeing characters we've learned to truly like turn out in the end to be sneak thieves, even if they are reborn just before they pay their dues. Furthermore, the gospel truth is that I've seen this movie innumerable times and I still can't figure out the deal with the smuggled diamonds. Why the hell do they wind up in jugs of water? Who's kidding whom around here? The direction is competent and the story unfolds without complicating flashbacks or directorial razzle dazzle. The location shooting is admirable. If I were in the army I'd be happy to be stationed at the Presidio, although it IS right on the bay and therefor often foggy. My understanding is that the Presidio will be closed as a military base and made available to the public. I hope things don't change too drastically. A horde of tourists will spoil the currently empty beauty of the place with its manicured lawns and eucalyptus and Washingtonia palms.
Worth seeing as a cool mystery/love/action movie, despite its weaknesses.
While this one is no highlight in Sean Connery's or Meg Ryan's career it is better than many people make it be. It's main failing may be that it lacks a certain level of excitement we have come to expect from such films. On the other hand, it arrives at a little bit more depth than most of its contenders - which may have worked against it ...
An amazing movie. All the elements come together to make a very
entertaining movie that gets better the more you watch it.
From Bruce Broughton's masterful score (one of his very best in my view) to Peter Hyams' evocative photography, everything comes in focus around a first-class cast that include star-making performances by Mark Harmon and Meg Ryan and the wonderful turns we take all too easily for granted by Sean Connery and Jack Warden.
The chase sequences are among the most inventive and gripping of modern cinema and are edited with just the right touch (take note you commercial directors who think chase scenes consist of unwatchable snippets of film) and highlight a great story full of lively characters.
Overall, a very memorable movie, which helps explain why it keeps showing up again and again on our TVs.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie has all the makings of a grade B TV police show except for some exceptional actors in the form of Sean Connery, Meg Ryan, Mark Harmon and Jack Weston, who do an excellent job bringing some belief to their roles. In fact this is my number one complaint about the movie: unbelievability. I can accept the basic premise of two characters who dislike each other being forced to work together to solve a crime. That one of them has a beautiful daughter in the form of Meg Ryan starts the ball of disbelief rolling. Meg forces Mark Harmon to chase her in a classic Corvette convertible, driving like a maniac. Who would treat a classic car that way? When the men begin to work together, we hear such original lines as "you can ride along with me if you like" and "Why don't we stop for some coffee?" Yeah, right, two guys who really hate each other. (Was there a strike of the Writer's Guild during this movie?) But there's more: The officer who caused the falling out between the lead characters just happens to be a major suspect now and bad guy. The Medal of Honor character (Jack Weston) who is the best friend of Sean Connery turns out to be a bad guy, but finds his conscience in the end. Jay Austin (Mark Harmon) goes from MP to SFPD detective. (What a meteoric rise.) And he just happens to be uninvolved with any other female when he meets Meg Ryan. (Well, I guess this is San Francisco.) Even the underlying plot begs belief. The murder of the female MP was caused by the diamond smuggler leaving the diamonds at the Presidio's Officer Club, then breaking in at night to retrieve them. However, the water bottle that held the diamonds had a special holder. How could one be so careless? Did the MP really have to die in the first place?
I would be giving this film a 10 out of 10 if it weren't for the
relative letdown of the ending which does not quite resonate the way it
But this small disappointment does nothing to erase the first hour of the film which brims with great characterization, great acting and great direction.
Peter Hyams chose to pace his film with two great chase scenes which are so well directed, they should be studied by younger filmmakers who think fast cutting and CGI somehow makes action scenes exciting.
Shot with long takes and real stunts, the car chase is a model of great action directing that takes your breath away even after the tenth viewing. As for the foot chase scene, it is so well-paced (kudos to Hyams' editor Jim Mitchell) that you can still see everything in spite of the frenetic action (again a craft that is totally lost in most of today's disappointing action films) Extra tip of the hat should also go to Bruce Broughton for his inspired and powerful score.
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