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Director James Glickenhaus (The Soldiers, The Exterminator, McBain) has
composed a reasonably well constructed thriller with the usual spectacular
action sequences and an interesting plot. This time though, the strong
performances from the lead stars help propel Shakedown above the usual
mundane low budget films.
Peter Weller (Robocop, Screamers) is excellent as Roland Dalton, a
frustrated attorney who must help defend a troubled youth who has been
accused of murdering a police officer. However, there is more to the scene
of the crime than meets the eye...
Sam Elliot (Road House) is grand as Richie Marks, a rogue police officer who is always at the wrong place at the right time. Marks and Dalton happen to form a "buddy-buddy" type bonding, and their investigation eventually leads knee deep into a conspiracy of corruption, deceit, and murder...
Shakedown is a decent action flick with an intriguing plot with enthralling plot twists and top notch action sequences. The fist fight aboard a moving roller coaster is a highlight and the extended vehicle chase through the streets of Manhattan is another highlight.
What makes Shakedown an exceptional thriller though, is the three dimensional performances. Peter Weller is definitely the performer worth watching in Shakedown. His convincing portrayal as a tough lawyer adds an extra depth of integrity to an otherwise standard "kill or be killed" actioner. Sam Elliot has his moments too as a cynical renegade cop who helps Weller expose corruption in the police department.
Shakedown is worth watching just for the high caliber performances from both Weller and Elliot. The action scenes are worthwhile as well. The only setback though is these action sequences are used a little too sparesly. The lack of a breathtaking pace destroys an almost superior thriller. Otherwise, Shakedown is an adequate film. This movie would benefit greatly with a faster pace, but the acting from stars Weller and Elliot make Shakedown a film worth a look.
RATING: **1/2 out of ****.
it is unusual to see SAM ELLIOT in a contemporary urban action thriller. I haven't seen this in awhile but I rtemember enjoying it. PETER WELLER plays an attorney who tries to get to the bottom of a police corruption scandal and ends up taking on half of the force and the cities criminal underworld. SAM ELLIOT plays the modren day cop with a wild west mentality and a huge .45 auto pistol...(which he uses frequently thus fullfilling thje action monicker of this film) SHAKEDOWN has impressive chase and action sequences. Critics bitched because wasn't dramatic enough but I enjoyed it. For action fans please note the action outweighs the court room scenes. I have wondered why sam elliot hasn't done more contemporary action thrillers like FATAL BEAUTY a action movie directed by FRIGHT NIGHTS TOM HOLLAND. He seems adept at contemporary pistol packing films as well as all the wonderful westerns he does for TNT. I have talked to many women who find elliot attractive, something about him. He looks like the rugged sort who will come riding out of the sage with a single action revolver after cattle rustlers at any second. I think this is his enduring appeal to movie and watchers. I rate this film as a fantasy action epic with court room appeal...PRESSUMED INNOCENT it is not...yet, it is worth the price of a movie rental. This is perhaps the best of the GLICKENHAUSmovies....as it is consistent in it's action delivery. 4 star 4 action...3 for drama (out of 7)
Completely contrived police corruption plot but Sam Elliott and Peter Weller do the best that could be expected under the circumstances. This almost seems like the roller coaster scene and the plane finale were thought up, and then connected somehow with the cartoon like script. Character development beyond Elliott and Weller is sketchy. The entire cops on the drug dealers payroll scenario is exploited way beyond what might make sense. The night shots on 42nd street are terrific, but you simply cannot take "Shakedown" seriously, and with each passing scene things deteriorate as believability flies out the window. The movie has some entertainment value, but do not expect much beyond stunt work and crashes. - MERK
Behold! Another movie about crooked New York cops and the two unorthodox cop
and lawyer that gives them the shakedown. The story was alright, but the
action scenes were tremendous. In fact, they were too good for a movie that
had a very solemn thriller aspect in addition to having trouble picking up
the pace at points. Things will go slow and then bam! Some wild action scene
occurs. This also makes the ending, ala True Lies, far too ridiculous to
really enjoy. Perhaps, if the story was all about Sam Elliots character, the
quiet and rugged cop who doesn't ask too many questions, it would seem
fitting as an explosive cop shootout kind of movie. But the film is
transplanted into the courtroom with subtlies of Peter Weller's character, a
lawyer, who is defending the drug dealer accused of killing a cop who is
part of a whole line of New York's finest shmoozing the city's notorious
This movie wasn't too bad, and probably enjoyable for those who like cheap, 80s cop thriller movies without too much regard to writing. If they'd have kept up with the action scenes, it'd made a fine action/suspense film. And, without all the action, it'd made a fine thriller. It just changes tempo too often is all.
Another buddy-action movie, but this time it's a lawyer and a cop. Nothing original here, but plenty of action and an interesting plot will keep you watching. Ending was ok, but it could have been much better. Good for watching when you've already seen all the Die Hards and Lethal Weapons. 6 1/2 out of 10. Can you spot the subtle references to other Glickenhaus movies like The Soldier and Exterminator?
Since its theatrical release, "Shakedown" has all but been forgotten by
the public. Having just watched it again after more than twenty five
years since I first saw it, I think I know why it has faded into
obscurity. Don't get me wrong, it's not a terrible movie. For starters,
it looks great, with expert cinematography and lighting despite being
made with a somewhat conservative budget. And director James
Glickenhaus, like in his other movies, definitely shows he can direct
action - the action scenes in this movie are very well done.
But a closer look at the movie soon reveals some big flaws. While Sam Elliot shows his trademark weary charm and makes his character appealing, his co-star Peter Weller doesn't fare so well. Weller is kind of stiff, maybe because his character is eventually made to be not so likable despite being in a lead protagonist position. The screenplay (also by Glickenhaus) is also kind of a mess, with important characters disappearing for long periods of time, as well as the central story moving extremely slowly (or not at all) for equally long periods of time.
Is the movie worth seeing? In some circumstances, yes. If you actively seek it out and/or pay good money to see it, chances are you'll be disappointed. But if it crosses your path during a slow day for free, you'll probably find it helps pass the time in an acceptable manner.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When drug dealer Michael Jones (Brooks) shoots a corrupt cop in New
York's Central Park one night, it falls on idealistic, Jimi
Hendrix-loving attorney Roland Dalton (Weller) to defend him. But
things get far more complicated when Dalton must team up with an
undercover, unorthodox cop, Richie Marks (Elliott) to get to the truth
behind all the corrupt cops, drug dealers, thugs and goons. And in a
plot device later used, interestingly enough, in Night Of The Wilding
(1990), the prosecutor on the Jones case is Roland's former girlfriend.
What's great about Shakedown is that it is not mindless. It has real characters in realistic settings. You grow to appreciate both Dalton and Marks. It's a legal drama but it is filled with action as well - the legal side represented by Peter Weller and the action side by Sam Elliott, who should have appeared in more movies like this. Weller makes plenty of funny faces along with his more normal interpretation of Dalton, the baby boomer attorney. Another name, Antonio Fargas shows up, but the fairly fast pace doesn't allow for him to stay around long. Richard Brooks would later be on the other side of the law on Law & Order.
Another noteworthy aspect of this movie is its excellent New York City locations. A lot of scenes were filmed on the famed 42nd street, right before the city was cleaned up. There are plenty of movie marquees on show, everything from X-rated material to movies like The Hidden (1987) and Fatal Beauty, 1987 (also starring Elliott). You can see the famous Lyric theater, among others. As part of Marks' undercover work, he hides out in a theater watching the Glickenhaus movie The Soldier, 1982 (which you can also see posters for in the lobby). It's great to see all this stuff. We're very glad it was preserved here, intentionally or not.
The seamy, New York, 80's atmosphere, along with the quality stunts, largely good acting combined with a story about adults (no stupid kids are involved) puts Shakedown way above the pack.
Featuring the tune "Lookin' For Love" by Nikki Ryder, Shakedown is well worth seeking out.
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I enjoyed the movie. Good entertainment. Especially enjoyed the live action stunts in a movieworld obsessed with sickening unrealistic comp-gen action scenes. If I want to watch animated action I turn on the Bugs&Daffy Show. Anyhow, my favorite part is the "DSAF" lecture. Seems there's alot of dsaf candidates wandering around out there these days...
From James Glickenhaus, director of "The Exterminator", comes this
buddy flick that proves that you don't have to reinvent the wheel in
order to make a solid action flick. Its characters are always watchable
and its action scenes are expertly done. Glickenhaus's script is on the
routine side but his execution helps to make up for that.
Peter Weller plays Roland Dalton, a public defender who takes the case of a drug dealer (Richard Brooks) who shot an undercover cop - but who apparently did it in self defense. Teaming up with a maverick detective played by Sam Elliott, he finds that the case leads to revelations about corruption in the NYC police department.
It's nice to see Weller looking like he's really having fun, and Elliott is likewise quite engaging. Weller strikes some sparks with Patricia Charbonneau, who plays a district attorney who just so happens to be an old girlfriend of Daltons'. It doesn't take long for him to submit to her charms even though he's already engaged to be married (to Gail Feinberger, played by Blanche Baker). Antonio Fargas is smooth as ever as big shot criminal Nicky Carr; Brooks and Larry Joshua are good in their supporting roles. While watching, the viewer can have a busy time playing spot the familiar face: Thomas G. Waites, Shirley Stoler, John C. McGinley, Jude Ciccolella, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Kelly Rutherford, Paul Bartel, James Eckhouse, David Proval, Harold Perrineau, William Prince and Holt McCallany all turn up.
Ultimately, this does get silly, and it doesn't tie up its loose ends well, but it's so well paced, and so undeniably exciting at times, that it sizes up as a good time for action aficionados. Among the highlights are a chase / fight Elliott has with a street thug that finishes nicely with a runaway roller coaster moment. It's also good for a look at 42nd Street when it was still in its decadent period.
Look for a theatre marquee displaying "Fatal Beauty", which also featured Elliott; a previous Glickenhaus picture, "The Soldier", can be seen playing on a movie screen.
Seven out of 10.
Hey! It's Robocop versus Huggy Bear, with Sam Elliot backing Peter
Weller up. When a dodgy undercover cop tries to rob and kill a crack
dealer and ends up getting ventilated, it's up to legal aid guy Peter
Weller to get him freed. He's got many problems, however. The dodgy cop
has loads of equally dodgy bad cop mates willing to cover up for him,
and the prosecution lawyer type person is his ex-girlfriend. And he's
engaged to be married to a woman who doesn't like Jimi Hendrix! What's
a Robocop turned robo lawyer to do? Luckily, he's got Sam Elliot, a
straight cop, on his side. Between them, they're going to clean up New
York City of all crooked cops and crack dealers (with the exception of
the crack dealer Weller's trying to free from prison).
This film is kind of all over the place, what with Weller's marital problems and those bad cops breathing down his neck. He's also got Huggy Bear (Night of the Sharks) trying to set both him and Ellot up to be killed, which leads to all sorts of action sequences that so increasingly ridiculous you'll be wondering which one to pick as the daftest moment in the film. Sam Elliott jumping from a fourth floor window onto a bus? Elliot having a punch up on a roller-coaster? Or how about Elliott attacking an aeroplane by jumping onto it's front wheel and shooting wildly while dangling in the air? That part was pretty stupid, and looked a bit rushed too, as if they were trying to keep the running time down a bit.
That said, it's moments like those above that keep the film going, or else we'd be bogged down in legal procedure and Weller cheating on his fiancé. Weller and Elliott are both pretty good leads so that helps too.
Also starring John C McGinley of "every film made from 1986-1990" fame
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