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Shoot to Kill
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33 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

The way that action movies should be made.

8/10
Author: Jonathon Dabell (barnaby.rudge@hotmail.co.uk) from Todmorden, England
10 June 2004

Shoot To Kill (GB title: Deadly Pursuit) is a lively, fairly intelligent action film which benefits from good character development. Many post-1980 action films suffer because they are empty spectacles, full of boring stock characters and visually impressive/emotionally redundant stunts. However, this one is different. There are eight main characters (all of them well-realized) as well as a fundamentally exciting plot, sharp dialogue, and a spectacular mountain setting.

FBI agent Warren Stanton (Sidney Poitier) is desperate to track down a dangerous jewel thief following a botched hostage situation. He suspects that the thief has joined a five-man hiking party in the rugged wilderness near Spokane. Unfortunately, there is no way of contacting the hiking guide Sarah (Kirstie Alley) to warn her that a dangerous killer is among her group. Instead, Stanton has to put his trust in another mountain guide, rough and tough Jonathan Knox (Tom Berenger). The unlikely pair pursue the hiking group, hoping to reach them before the killer strikes again.

The film moves at a good pace. Interest is generated on several different fronts: the volatile relationship between Stanton and Knox; the intriguing guessing-game as to which member of the hiking party is actually the jewel thief/killer; the "race-against-time" tension (as soon as the hikers have entered Canada, the killer could dispose of them at any time). There is spectacular action, but it is not emphasised to such an overwhelming degree that other story threads are lost. Shoot To Kill is a very commendable action film and it is a pity that more films in the genre are not up to the same standard.

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19 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

A triumph!

Author: mike owen (bobjohndave) from danville, VA
29 July 2002

I would just like to start off this review by giving Sidney Poitier the recognition he deserves. He is most definitely one of the most distinguished and talented actors of our generation and a role model for all aspiring actors! Now, on with the review. I first saw this movie during a vacation to the beach with my friend and his family. I had seen several other Poitier efforts such as "In the Heat of the Night" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?",and I stumbled upon this thriller while watching television on one of the nights that it rained. I stopped at TBS and I'm certainly glad that I did! This movie is one of best Poitier movies I've ever viewed! This film incorporates comedy into a genre the usually takes itself a little too seriously. The movie has an overall seriousness about it, but there are a few cheeky moments between Poitier and Berenger. Some of these comedic moments include: a scene where Berenger and Poitier are in an ice tunnel during a snow storm. Berenger is laying on top of Poitier to keep him from freezing to death. Poitier asks something like : "What are you queer or something?!" and Berenger says something like: "What's the matter? Haven't you ever heard about us mountain boys?" Another funny moment comes when Poitier is trying to scale a wall even though he is exhausted. Berenger is at the top trying to convince him to go back. The look on Poitier's face is more than enough to inspire a chuckle. The performances, the direction, and the cinematography are all well done in this film. The beautiful mountain landscapes inspire sort of a wistful feeling that can often be distracting. I'll also give a thumbs up to the sound effects department of this film. The sound of the rope snapping when Berenger was plummeting from the cable extending across the gorge was enough to make me wince with agony. This movie was executed well and my only complaint was that the villain's identity was revealed earlier than I thought it should have been. All in all I think it was a solid effort that I think anyone who is a fan of suspense films will enjoy. Your best bet as far as renting this movie is to go to a hole-in-the-wall movie rental store that never throws any movie away because, as other reviews have said, it is very hard to find. You may get lucky once in a blue moon and catch it on TBS or TNT, but the edited for TV versions are never as good as the uncut versions. If none of the mom and pop movie rental outlets still carry it, go to blockbuster and demand that they order this movie for you! This movie is a definite must-see for any fan of the suspense genre! FINAL SCORE 9/10

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15 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Excellent action-adventure flick

8/10
Author: Bjorn (ODDBear) from Iceland
6 September 2006

Sidney Poitier's return to movies (after a 10 year absence) was this wilderness action flick which is fun all the way.

FBI Agent Warren Stantin (Poitier) trails a nasty serial killer to the wilderness and enlists the aid of an experienced mountain guide Jonathan Knox (Tom Berenger). The killer has "hitched" a ride with 4 other campers who are being led through the mountains by Knox's girlfriend (Kirstie Alley).

Well written script, first rate action sequences and solid acting by Berenger and Poitier make Shoot to Kill an excellent action-adventure yarn that's sure to please most. The opening 50 minutes or so are airtight and then it loses a bit of steam but on the whole it's damn good overall.

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17 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Perfect Poitier and Believable Berenger

10/10
Author: The_Rook from United States
17 October 2002

Sidney Poitier, who was 61 at the time, and Tom Berenger both do exceptional jobs in this movie. Poitier as an FBI agent and Berenger is a mountain guide. Great scenery in Washington state includes Pugent Sound. This is one of the best movies I have ever seen let alone quite possibly the best in this genre. A good blend of action with the chase of the killer from city to mountains to city along with mental clue teasers. If you like movies like "Along Came a Spider", "Manhunter", or "U.S. Marshals" you will enjoy this movie. Well paced with good supporting cast, sets, and music. The killer is not revealed until late in the movie so the suspense is excellent through out it. I hope this comes out on DVD soon.

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18 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

A Lot To Like.....Except The Ending

8/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
16 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It wasn't until my fourth viewing of this film (and first on widescreen DVD) that (1) I finally remembered who the killer was as soon as I saw him and (2) lost a little regard for this otherwise very entertaining thriller because of the implausible ending.

It's a different kind of adventure story/crime thriller in that the beginning and ending scenes are both in big cities and the long middle part is in the Northwest wilderness. There is some great mountain scenery to enjoy as we tag along with two groups: one which has the killer and his hostage (a slim Kirstie Alley!) and another with an FBI man (Sidney Poitier) and his guide (Tom Berenger), who is the hostage's boyfriend.

I had no problems with any of this story until the last 20 minutes when both parties reached Vancouver. Then, all credibility went out the window as Berenger is allowed to be side-by-side with Poitier as the latter and the killer shoot it out in various parts of the city. It gets worse as it goes on with Poitier a dead duck a couple of times but he never dies. Only Superman could have survived what he did, but he's the "good guy " so he makes it in the end. A little restraint in that ending would have kept this movie just great.

Still, if you can put up with the ending the film still offers a lot of suspense, a lot of mystery, interesting action and scenery.....in other words, a lot to like.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

The trek in the mountains

8/10
Author: jotix100 from New York
25 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After a diamond dealer's home is attacked by a man who wants the precious stones, the robber takes the dealer's wife hostage in a violent confrontation with the police and FBI in San Francisco. The agent in charge, Warren Stantin, gives the diamonds to the, almost invisible, man, who flees by boat taking the loot with him. The only way to beat the FBI and the people that are following him is to head north to Canada.

Thus begins this action thriller that uses the Canadian Rockies as the backdrop for setting this story about a determined FBI enforcer following a deadly assassin who has left a trail of killings as he goes into the mountains. Stantin is told the only way to find his man is by engaging Jonathan Knox, a man who knows the area, to guide him. Knox, who is reluctant, at first, realizes the man might be part of a group his girlfriend, Sarah, is taking on an extended trek of the mountains.

Stantin and Knox begin to fight as they have different ideas about what to do, but they end up bonding, as they understand what is at stake. This pair endures some of the worst weather conditions in their quest for the assassin, and in finding the diamonds that the outlaw wants to sell to an unscrupulous man in Vancouver.

Roger Spottiswoode directed this action filled movie with sure hand. The screen play is by Harv Zimmel and Daniel Petrie, two men who know how to involve the viewer. Michael Chapman photographed the great outdoors with an eye on the dangerous aspects of the chase.

Sidney Poitier is seen as Warren Stantin, an FBI agent that is restless in his pursue of the killer. This was Mr. Poitier's return to the movies after quite a number of years not being in front of a camera. Tom Berenger plays Knox, an outdoors man who is more at home in the mountains than among people.

The surprise of the story is that we don't have a clue up to the middle of the film about who the real killer is. By positioning him among the group that Sarah is taking on a mountain expedition, adds a great deal of suspense to the story. The ending leaves a lot to be desired, but that's only a minor complaint about this action packed film.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Some Inconvenient Allies

6/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
14 January 2008

After an eleven year absence from the screen, Sidney Poitier chose to return in an action/adventure film where he plays an FBI agent in search of a killer.

He's got good reason to want this guy bad. His quarry is ruthless and kills without mercy. Poitier loses a hostage and the ransom he's asked for. But some good detective work has traced the man to a remote part of the Pacific Northwest.

Where the perpetrator has killed again and joined a party of dry fly fishermen being guided by Kirstie Alley into the rugged mountains. No place for a city kid like Poitier, says mountaineer/hermit Tom Berenger who has the prerequisite skills to get the job done. These two are forced into an alliance of inconvenience.

The best thing I liked about Shoot To Kill is the guessing game we play for the identity of the perpetrator. Any one of the five men in Kirstie Alley's party could have been the killer. Look at the cast list and you'll recognize a few names who've played some pretty loathsome villains in the past. The identity is revealed suddenly and quite shockingly.

What I didn't like with Shoot To Kill is the fact that the final confrontation with the perpetrator is in big city Vancouver where he's escaped with Alley. He needed her in the woods, not any longer, she should have wound up dead. And Berenger and Poitier should have confronted him in the woods.

That script decision made the climax a rather ordinary one that you see in a whole lot of police chase films. Still all the players do fine here, my favorite being Kirstie Alley as the woods smart guide.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

The first 45min sets it up nicely

Author: royu from Brisbane, Australia
27 June 2004

It think whoever wrote the script for this movie had the first half all planned out, but then didn't know where to go afterwards. The first 40 minutes or so is riveting, one of the greatest openings to a film you'll ever likely to see because it keeps you guessing, there's decoys thrown in and it throws up one big question, which one of the fishermen is the bad guy? I guessed wrong. Once his identity is revealed it all becomes a bit stock standard, other users have said that the bad guy question was answered too soon and i tend too agree, another 20 minutes or so would've helped, the fishermen tour is a fun part of the movie.

Despite it's slight decline in power at this point the directing and cinematography remain first class. The characters are believable, realistic, give good feedback and are easy to relate to. Character development in Shoot to Kill isn't matched by many others, simply first class. The script is laugh out loud witty at times and Poitier and Berenger gel well, but the acting does have it's poorer moments, as does the script. A couple of plot holes don't help. But look past some minor flaws and the movie is great, the curiously catchy soundtrack adds to the movies feel, and the scenery is documentary spectacular and also gives a good sense of it's intimidation. Definitely a must watch for thriller fans. Everyone I've shown it too loved it, and everyone I know who's seen it loved it. Highly underrated, yet highly enjoyable.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

" You may be a real hot shot in the city, but out here, I'm in charge "

8/10
Author: thinker1691 from USA
28 June 2010

Police in every nation have, over the decades accumulated hundreds of stories concerning the chasing of criminals. Sometimes in the city, sometimes in the country and then there are times when the bad guys try to jump jurisdiction by crossing the boarder. This is one such movie called " Shoot to Kill. " The story is of Steve (Clancy Brown) a very intelligent, very crafty diabolic killer who begins with a B & E, armed assault, robbery, kidnapping and graduates to outright Murder. To combat him the F.B.I. assigns a senior and experienced agent named Warren Stantin (Sidney Poitier). The two meet with a robbery, murder where Steve takes his loot and kills his victim and makes good his escape. Stantin vows he will eventually apprehend him. A short time later, Steve emerges by infiltrating a troop of hikers into the U.S. Canadian mountains, where Steve is once again pursued by Stantin who is helped by Jonathan Knox, (Tom Berenger) a stubborned, but very experienced mountain guide who is determined to save his girlfriend (Kirstie Alley) from the clutches of the killer. In it's cast are several well known actors who have also played heavies, like Richard Masur and Andrew Robinson and make it difficult to identify the real killer. The movie is filled with action, adventure and some light moments between the principals. All in all, it's a good film and one is thankful for allowing Mr. Poitier to return to center stage before the camera. ****

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Very good eighties cop thriller

7/10
Author: The_Void from Beverley Hills, England
29 June 2007

Deadly Pursuit certainly has it's fair share of problems, but as an entertaining little action thriller; it stands up well to criticism, as while some of the dialogue, situations and character drawings don't exactly ring true; the film moves quickly and director Roger Spottiswoode does a good job of ensuring that the film is easy viewing and never becomes boring. Deadly Pursuit is something of a film of two halves; it starts off as a gritty cop thriller, and then mutates into a survivalist themed chase movie. The plot is fairly standard at first, as we witness a man being caught robbing a diamond store. The plot thickens when, after some interrogation from the arresting officers, it turns out that the thief actually owns the store! We then learn that he's stealing the diamonds to pay a kidnapper for the release of his wife. FBI agent Warren Stantin manages to chase the kidnapper down, but he gets away with the diamonds and flees into a forest near Canada; thus meaning that Agent Stantin must chase the killer into the woods, with the help of a rugged local who knows the area.

The film does have a number of problems - sometimes, for example, it seems to just jump from one scene to the next without much in the way of a connection. This does keep things moving, but the film can feel a bit disjointed because of it. Still, the plot flows fairly well and enough different angles are created to keep things interesting. The film features a decent cast, headed up by Sidney Poitier. Poitier's character changes a lot through the film, and while the actor sometimes looks a bit silly, he does seem to manage this well. He is joined by Tom Berenger, who also gives a decent performance in his role, while the rest of the cast is filled out by the likes of Clancy Brown, Kirstie Alley and Andrew Robinson. Perhaps the best thing about this movie is the fact that we don't know who the killer is for so long, which builds suspense - and mystery, and the film also carries off a nice twist little twist with the choice of actors surrounding the killer. Overall, I can't really say that Deadly Pursuit is one of the best films of its type - but it's certainly a very good thriller and I recommend watching it!

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