Johnny Handsome is a deformed gangster who plans a successful robbery with a friend of his, Mikey Chalmette, and another couple (Sunny Boid and Rafe Garrett). During the heist, Johnny and ... See full summary »
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Johnny Handsome is a deformed gangster who plans a successful robbery with a friend of his, Mikey Chalmette, and another couple (Sunny Boid and Rafe Garrett). During the heist, Johnny and Mikey are double-crossed by Sunny and Rafe---Mikey is killed and Johnny sent to prison. While in prison, Johnny is invited to a rehabilitation program, where Dr. Steven Fischer rebuilds Johnny's face and helps Johnny get paroled. Johnny starts working in a shipyard, where he meets Donna McCarty and starts a romance. Lt. A.Z. Drones is a skeptical detective who follows the rehabilitation of Johnny. Johnny's new life is consumed by the desire of payback. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In a 1st October 1989 interview with 'The Philadelphia Inquirer', director Walter Hill said: "I kept turning it down. No studio wanted to make it, and I didn't think any actor would be willing to play it. I wasn't sure the audience would buy the gimmick of the plastic surgery. It's an old-fashioned melodramatic device. Then about a year ago, I decided to do it. First, I figured that Hollywood is based on melodrama anyway and, second, I thought up a way to present the story in a way that resisted histrionics. More importantly, I found an actor who could play Johnny and not make it risible. Someone who understood the pitfalls of the thing. The main thing is that motion pictures have conditioned us to expect psychological realism. This is a drama in a different category. It's about moral choices. I knew I was on very thin ice. If you let any histrionics in, it will fall apart. You have to trust the drama of the whole rather than an individual scene. And that's antithetical to most actors. They want to know, 'Where's my big moment? When do I get to cry and scream?'. Mickey understood that". See more »
During the graveyard scene, Larry "pumps" the action on a double barreled shotgun. See more »
Just like Gene Siskel (RIP) said, I'd like to see it again.
Having seen the trailer multiple times as well as seeing 2 other Walter Hill films (Red Heat and Trespass), I had come across this underrated gem at Borders for $15. And I decided, why not? For me, the movie was $15 well spent.
Mickey Rourke plays John Sedley, a small-time hood whose deformation has given him the nickname, "Johnny Handsome", who is in the midst of planning a robbery with his friend, Mikey Chalmette (Played by Scott Wilson) and 2 other criminals, Rafe and Sunny (Played by the always great Lance Henriksen and Ellen Barkin.) In the middle of the robbery, John and Mikey are double-crossed by Sunny and Rafe. Mikey ends up killed and Johnny is arrested. While in jail, Lt. Drones (Played by Morgan Freeman) offers Johnny a chance to participate in a rehab program. Johnny accepts the offer and while at the rehab, Johnny is stabbed and taken to a hospital. At the hospital, the sympathetic Dr. Steven Fisher (Played by Forest Whitaker) gives Johnny a new face, a new identity (Johnny is given the name Johnny Mitchell), and a new shot at life. Johnny is eventually granted parole and gets a job at a plant. Going straight isn't all that easy, however. What Johnny really intends to do is get even with Rafe and Sunny.
I found the film to be an intense and underrated revenge noir that really deserves more attention than it already has. The score by Ry Cooder (Also responsible for the equally good score for Trespass) fits the film well too. The only thing that I did not like about the film was the ending, which was pretty sad. Nevertheless, it's a fun film that will hopefully, get more recognition in the future.
DVD Extras: The movie is presented in a crisp 1.33:3 full frame format, although I really don't know why Artisan decided against showing the film in it's original 1.85 aspect ratio, but it's still a good presentation. It's also VHS sourced, as if you watch the film all the way to the end, you'll see the I.V.E. logo.
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