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Reviews & Ratings for
Back to Back (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

TV movies are sometimes bland, this one is well worth seeing

7/10
Author: blue hermit from Gateshead, England
8 April 2001

"Back to Back" didn't stun the world with its market impact when released. Watching it five years later there doesn't seem to be much wrong with it, there's sufficient action and plot to stop most people falling asleep on the sofa. It has an "R" rating, but for me the violence is in context and doesn't detract from the entertainment value of the movie.

The director, Roger Nygard, obviously knows his job. As a piece of film making, "Back to Back" is well put together. The cast and crew do a good job with a neat script. Admittedly, coincidence does have a field day in the story line. The script boasts two yakuza hit men (one a disciple of Elvis), suitably evil mafiosi, a disgraced ex-cop, his much exasperated daughter, a mad bomber bank robber and, last but not least, an obnoxious, corrupt detective who you just know has been responsible for everything that has gone wrong for years.

The cast is definitely above average. Some of the names are regulars among the ranks of supporting players featuring in bigger budget movies. There's Michael Rooker (Bob Malone), who I last saw making a fair job of Stan Zedkov in "The Replacement Killers" (1998). Sci-Fi enthusiasts will I'm sure be pleased to spot Stephen Furst, Vir Cotto from "Babylon 5", in the minor role of Jimmy, one of two no-accounts planning to sell Hideo back to the Mob. Also, a real inspiration in the casting of "Back to Back" has to be offering Bobcat Goldthwait the part of the psycho bank robber. Villainous and comic, he's great!

Danielle Harris is much more than eye candy as daughter Chelsea Malone: wayward fathers need a firm hand! It is entertaining to see the changes brought about by advancing years (at least in this young lady's case it is!). I remember DH as little Melissa, the younger daughter of the Crandell family in "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead" (1991). By 1996 she certainly had looks and screen presence aplenty. I recently spotted her again in "Urban Legend", dating from 1998, a movie in which costume and make up render her almost unrecognizable.

I have not seen the two Japanese actors before who play Koji and Hideo. The mentor and his pupil scenario is nicely done. If I didn't know from experience how difficult it is to find the work of Japanese actors, it would be interesting to see other things they've done. Look out too for the enjoyable cameo from Leland Orser as the Wheelchair Guy. His brief screen appearance is a realistic peek into the precarious existence of someone surviving on the street.

TV movies are sometimes bland, this one is well worth seeing.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Action movie with Comedy Cast

Author: peace63 from Valencia, Spain
8 March 2005

Michael Rooker is a decent actor, but he has no business being the lead except in a low budget movie. He really does not have much charisma. Ryo Ishibashi has a lot more screen presence, and sadly he is not really the main character. Most of the screen time goes to the brick-faced Rooker.

Danielle Harris (from the Halloween 4 and 5 movies) plays his daughter, and she is cute and entertaining but she is written as not being too smart and one of her dumb mistakes gets one of the main characters killed. Comedians Fred Willard, Bobcat Goldthwait, and Stephen Furst are here in interesting roles. Just watching what happens to these characters is priceless.

Vincent Schiavelli plays the Consigliare to the local Mafia Godfather, and it is hard to tell whether or not he is working the movie as a comedy. Tim Thomerson is also in this movie. He seems to be in every extremely low budget direct-to-video action movie. Thomerson is also in some low-budget comedies. Seeing so many comedians and comic actors in this film made it feel like a spoof. Is it a parody of a Yakuza movie? It is hard to tell at some points. There is certainly very little Yakuza action.

The supporting cast of Thugs and Goons is menacing and well cast. Some of these kinds of movies have Thugs that look like they work at the local Comic Book Store or as stock boys at Piggly-Wiggly. Overall this movie is very uneven. At some points it seems like a comedy or a parody. Then at other points it works as a good action movie. Then it sputters to an end. Without the contributions of Danielle Harris and Ryo Ishibashi this movie would rate a Zero in my humble opinion.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Call 1-800-Psycho

6/10
Author: lastliberal from United States
1 June 2008

Actually better that American Yakuza, even if it feature a strip club with no stripping. Sheesh!

Michael Rooker is an ex-cop trying to take care of his daughter Chelsea, played by Danielle Harris (Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, "That's Life", "The Wild Thornberrys", Halloween 4 & 5). He joins up with Ryo Ishibashi to take out a mobster to protect her.

Lots of shooting and the opening with Bob Goldthwait was a real riot. He really blows!

Also features the late Vincent Schiavelli.

One of many Pulp Fiction knockoffs, but it really is funny.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Daft but watchable

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
15 February 2002

Retired cop Malone finds himself caught up in a battle between Japanese Yakuza and local mobsters when a psycho bombs a restaurant. He joins forces with Koji in order to protect his daughter and not only discovers that he was framed by a corrupt cop but also discovers a lot about honour and friendship.

When I saw this as American Yakuza 2, I didn't expect much, and I wasn't disappointed. The story relies on unlikely events to get moving and keep moving. For example the whole chain of events that bring Malone and Koji together is set off by a psycho's unlikely hostage situation in a diner! This is typical of the story, in that big dumb situations are used to drive the plot. However, I have to admit that it wasn't terrible. Yes, it's very predictable and quite silly but it is generally quite entertaining and actually has some genuinely good moments.

Rooker is an OK actor but rarely gets good leads - here is no exception. Danielle Harris is quite good as his daughter, while Ishibashi is good as Koji. The rest of the cast are nothing more than cop and mobster stereotypes that fill out the cast.

Overall it's not great but if you're in the mood it's reasonably enjoyable without being too demanding on the old grey matter.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

I would like a Tsukimi Burger with a side of Elvis.

5/10
Author: julian kennedy from Clearwater Fl
8 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Back to Back: 5/10: Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? Is it a sequel? (American Yakuza 2?) Is it a rip-off of Pulp Fiction? Why it’s all these things and more.

Too silly to be a crime drama and to serious to be a comedy; Back to Back is all over the map. What can you say about a film with the always super cool legend Ryo Ishibashi kicking and shooting it old school and an exploding Bobcat Goldthwait in the same movie?... heck this movie has them in the same scene.

Yes watching Bobcat go all Islamic Jihad is worth a rental at least. And the cast such as Fred Willard, Tim Thomerson and Stephen Furst actually behave themselves. Heck Leland Orser practically gives a one man show as wheelchair guy. (Seriously he could have had an Off-Broadway monologue with that character.) The blood squibs and bullets get a good workout and the movie has some pretty decent action scenes.

So why not more love? Well the script is disjointed to say the least. The good news is if you are bored wait five minutes and it is practically a different movie. (A father daughter comedy, no a kung-fu actioner, no a one man drama, no now it’s a stoner film... make up your mind damnit.) The film also commits some cinematic sins. First of all, if you purposely hide the identity of Mr. Big till the end he better be a character we have already met or a Frank Sinatra cameo. Second if you already have an R rating why are the dancers in the strip joint fully clothed. And last there is nothing cheaper than the ethnic character that idolizes Elvis. I hate that crap. Especially when the soundtrack is filled with twanging like we were in 1950’s Arizona not 1990’s L.A... If I wanted to see a bad Nicholas Cage film I would have rented one (There are plenty to choose from after all.) Bottom line defiantly worth a look and it is entertaining but certainly not something I would go out of my way to see. Well except for the Bobcat explosion.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Not great, but plenty violent

6/10
Author: ctomvelu-1 from United States
17 June 2008

That terrific character actor Michael Rooker stars in the poorly titled BACK TO BACK, about a perpetually angry ex-cop caught up in a feud between the Japanese and American mobs. Against his better judgment, he teams up with a Yakuza killer (Ryo Ishibashi) to take down a capo who owes money to the Yakuza. The ex-cop's teen daughter (Danielle Harris of HALLOWEEN sequels fame) is along for the ride, and some of the best parts of the movie are the constant bickering between dad and daughter. Shot locally in L.A. and filled with Hollywood types in unnecessary cameos (Tim Thomerson, Bobcat Goldthwait, Fred Willard), the film leans heavily on Rooker, and he comes through as a divorced, aging dad with extreme anger management issues. Whatever the movie may lack otherwise, like a budget and a script, is at least partially made up for in the frequent, John Woo-style shootouts and fistfights, all of which are gorgeously bloody and well-staged. Good for insomniacs, like me. All others, approach with caution.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Better than I expected, but not by much

Author: LanderRei
30 July 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Some good humour, sweet gun fighting and good cast...how can you go wrong? Im not sure exactly, but somehow this flick did. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this movie...but it wasn't great. Worth a rental if theres nothing else to rent, and maybe - MAYBE - worth buying.

Main problem is the mix of comedy and action. Not enough action to make a solid action movie, nor enough humour to make it really funny.

But hey, the casts still strong. Michael Rooker and Ryo Ishibashi do their jobs well as the two main characters. And the lovely Danielle Harris as always does a fine job ( Then again she could have spent the movie sitting there doing absolutely nothing and I would have remained interested)

****SPOILER ahead**** But is it just me or was Bobcat annoying in this movie? Especially when his hand is cut off and he runs out of the restaurant freaking out with his assault rifle and screaming . That lasted far too long, and I wished somebody would get a lucky shot and rip off his jaw. Anything to shut him up. ****SPOILER ended****

Anyways, if you like comedy or action...or like me just like Danielle Harris, you may wanna rent this movie. I mean its not bad, its just not all that good. Elvis Lives.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Pretty Good...

Author: blindnes from Toronto, Canada
27 May 1999

I rented this one only because Bobcat was on the cover of the box in the video store. Disappointingly He isn't in the movie for that long, BUT was I surprised, this movie is amazing! I loved it! The acting is pretty good and there is actually a storyline in there, and not just mindless violence. Great Movie! And considering the Cast isn't that well known it was an even nicer surprise! I give it 3.5 out of 5

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Great character actors .... along with at least a bunch of violence ..

6/10
Author: merklekranz from United States
28 March 2010

Lots of action strung together with converging story lines. "Back to Back" has some peculiarities, some that work and some that don't. For one thing, for a movie with such over the top violence, and an "R" rating, why don't the strippers strip? Fortunately there is plenty of dark humor, and some really great character actors, Vincent Schiavelli, Fred Willard, and Bobcat Goldthwait, being the most memorable. You also get a teenager with an attitude, Danielle Harris, and Elvis even gets to play a part. The film is fast paced, has a high body count, with just enough humor to carry the film into above average territory. Definitely entertaining, and recommended of it's type. - MERK

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Better than expected, but not by much.

Author: LanderRei (LanderRei@hotmail.com)
30 July 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Some good humour, sweet gun fighting and good cast...how can you go wrong? Im not sure exactly, but somehow this flick did. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this movie...but it wasn't great. Worth a rental if theres nothing else to rent, and maybe - MAYBE - worth buying.

Main problem is the mix of comedy and action. Not enough action to make a solid action movie, nor enough humour to make it really funny.

But hey, the casts still strong. Michael Rooker and Ryo Isabashi do their jobs well as the two main characters. And the lovely Danielle Harris as always does a fine job ( Then again she could have spent the movie sitting there doing absolutely nothing and I would have remained interested)

****SPOILER ahead**** But is it just me or was Bobcat annoying in this movie? Especially when he ran out of the restaurant freaking out with his assault rifle and screaming. That lasted far too long, and I wished somebody would get a lucky shot and rip off his jaw. Anything to shut him up. ****SPOILER ended****

Anyways, if you like comedy or action...or like me just like Danielle Harris, you may wanna rent this movie. I mean its not bad, its just not all that good. Elvis Lives.

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