Tango & Cash (1989) - Plot Summary Poster



Showing all 6 items
Jump to:


  • The polar opposites, Ray Tango, a suave and sophisticated police officer, and Gabe Cash, his overzealous long-haired partner, are a mismatched LAPD crime-fighting duo who work tirelessly to bring down their arch-nemesis, the ruthless drug lord, Yves Perret. However, when Perret manages to incriminate the pesty team with falsified evidence, Ray and Gabe will soon end up in a maximum-security prison, where an almost endless parade of inmates previously incarcerated by them, are waiting for their captors impatiently. Now, more than ever, Tango and Cash need to put their differences aside to come up quickly with a good plan, not only to escape the jail's walls but also to even the score with the evil kingpin who put them behind bars once and for all. Of course, that's easier said than done.

  • Ray Tango and Gabriel Cash are narcotics detectives who, while both being extremely successful, can't stand each other. Crime Lord Yves Perret, furious at the loss of income that Tango and Cash have caused him, frames the two for murder. Caught with the murder weapon at the scene of the crime, the two have no alibi. Thrown into prison with most of the criminals they helped convict, it appears that they are going to have to trust each other if they are to clear their names and catch the evil Perret.

  • Ray Tango is a Los Angeles narcotics cop who dresses in fancy suits, wears wire-rim glasses, and talks to his stockbroker more than he talks to his mother. Gabriel Cash is a Los Angeles narcotics cop who has long, disheveled hair, and dresses in worn-out sweatshirts. Even though they are rivals, Tango and Cash are the two best narcs in LA, which infuriates drug kingpin Yves Perret. Perret wants Tango and Cash out of the way, so Perret frames them for the murder of an undercover FBI agent. Perret's plan is to have Tango and Cash killed in prison in order to avoid risking all-out war with the LAPD. But Tango and Cash accept a plea bargain that will give them 18 months in a minimum-security prison, then Perret arranges for their destination to be diverted to a maximum-security prison where Perret's minions proceed to torture Tango and Cash. Tango and Cash are forced to work together in a spectacular escape from the prison. After the escape, Tango and Cash set out to prove their innocence, and Cash has a romance with Tango's sister Catherine "kiki" Tango.

  • Ray Tango and Gabe Cash are two L.A. based cops who work in different precincts. They have seized millions of dollars of drugs and weapons that belong to a man named Perret. Realizing that they have to be dealt with, Perret, but not wanting to make them martyrs by killing them, frames them. Sensing that the evidence against them was to overwhelming, Tango and Cash's lawyers advise them to take a plea bargain, on the guarantee that they would be sent to a minimum security prison. But Perret arranges for them to be sent to a hell hole and it's there that he plans to have killed and make it appear that one of the men they sent there killed them. One of the prison's officials, who is an old friend of Cash, tells them that they have to escape, which they do. They then go out and try and find the man who framed them.

  • Framed by their ruthless arch-nemesis, a mismatched LAPD crime-fighting duo has to put its differences aside to even the score with the evil kingpin who put them behind bars once and for all.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The film begins as Tango drives a late-model Cadillac convertible in pursuit of a tanker truck. His hair is neatly styled, and he is dressed in a three-piece suit. He cleverly stops the truck, and when the LA County authorities find only gasoline in the tank, he shoots the tank and cocaine pours out of the bullet hole. Meanwhile, Cash arrives at his apartment driving an old Corvette. His hair is long and shaggy, and he is dressed in jeans, a T-shirt, and a waist-length jacket. He is shot by an intruder, but is protected by a bullet-proof vest, and captures the shooter in a parking garage after a car chase. At the police station, Cash forces the shooter to tell him about a deal scheduled to take place that night.

    However, the "deal" is really a plan by Perret to frame Tango and Cash for murder. Tango and Cash separately go to an empty building, preceded by a man who is revealed later in the film to be Requin (Brion James), Perret's lead henchman. After surprising each other, the two detectives find a dead man with audio equipment hidden under his clothing, and a team of FBI agents swarms in. Wyler, the agent in charge, finds Cash's pistol on the floor and arrests both Cash and Tango.

    At their murder trial, the detectives are incriminated by an audio tape, secretly given to Wyler by Requin and verified in court by an audio expert, which appears to reveal them shooting the FBI agent after discussing a drug purchase. They plead "no contest" to a lesser charge in exchange for reduced sentences in a minimum-security prison, but are transported to a maximum-security prison to be housed with many of the criminals they arrested in the past.

    Once in prison, Tango and Cash are rousted from their bunks and tortured by Perret, Requin, and a gang of prisoners until Matt Sokowski, the assistant warden, rescues them. Sokowski recommends that they escape, and provides them with a plan, but Tango refuses to go along with it. When Cash tries to escape, he finds Sokowski murdered and is attacked by prisoners. Tango rescues him, and the two of them escape. Once outside the prison walls, Tango tells Cash to ask for his sister Katherine (Hatcher) at a dance club if he needs to contact him later, and they go separate ways.

    The detectives then visit the witnesses who framed them in court. Wyler admits to Tango that Requin was in charge of the setup, and Cash discovers that the audio expert made the incriminating tape himself. Cash finds Katherine at the dance club, working as an exotic dancer. Later that night, Tango and Cash are met at Katherine's house by Tango's commanding officer, who gives them Requin's address and tells them they have 24 hours to find out who Requin works for. Tango and Cash apprehend Requin and trick him into telling them Perret's name. Armed with a high-tech assault vehicle, they drive to Perret's headquarters, crash through the outer fence, destroy a fleet of armed trucks, hijack two heavy vehicles, crash into the main building, and kill several guards.

    At this point, Perret, who has kidnapped Katherine, starts a timer that will trigger the building's automatic self-destruct procedure. After killing Perret's core security personnel, Tango and Cash are confronted by Requin, who is holding Katherine at knifepoint but throws her aside to fight the detectives hand-to-hand with the help of another henchman. The detectives defeat the two criminals, and when Perret appears, holding a gun to Katherine's head, they kill him and leave with Katherine just before the building explodes. Afterward, they joke half-seriously about Cash's desire to date Katherine. The film ends with a newspaper headline celebrating their vindication.

See also

Taglines | Synopsis | Plot Keywords | Parents Guide

Contribute to This Page