Flashpoint (1984) Poster

(1984)

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10/10
Don't Laugh. One of the Best Films of The 1980's.
Eric Chapman7 September 2001
I can just picture the expressions on the faces of Treat Williams and Kris Kristofferson, a pair of actors whose talents haven't always been well utilized by Hollywood, after reading this script. One can imagine them scrambling for the phone, knocking things over, frantically dialing their agent's number and blurting out "Yes! Yes! I'll do it! Are you kidding? Hell, I'll do it for free!" Films this bold and unspoiled don't come along very often these days.

Blends elements of works as diverse as "A Simple Plan", "The Parallax View", "All The President's Men", "The X-Files" and even Orwell's "1984" (the motion detector plot point) to create a sublime, spine-tingling mystery. The first time director William Tannen, approaches the disturbing central theme of his piece in a startlingly original way. He circles it, surrounds it, then closes in with the cunning of a fox and the daring of an assassin. There are subtle (very subtle) hints along the way, particularly if you listen closely to steel-eyed Kurtwood Smith's jaw-dropping diatribe in which he blisters the so-called "American Way" in no uncertain terms. "This whole f***ing nation is politics" he hisses. But they are merely hints making the slyly implied, almost subliminal conclusion that much more of a stunner. Undoubtedly a film that requires its audience to pay extremely close attention to every line, every gesture, every nuance, every single frame of film. The attentive viewer will be amply rewarded.

Williams and Kristofferson are weary, prankish (think Hawkeye and Honeycutt from M*A*S*H) border patrol officers waging a futile battle against the steady flow of illegal immigration from Mexico into Texas. K.K. is a laid back cynic, a decorated Vietnam veteran with an easy-going disposition that masks a simmering resentment towards lock-kneed bureaucracy. Williams is a stubborn, uneducated idealist, a hothead unafraid to speak out against the injustice, corruption and plain foolishness he encounters on his job every day. K.K. no longer has any illusions about "making a difference" but loves the feeling of riding around in his jeep through a beautiful lonely desert, and glories in the thrill of the chase. Williams clings to the slippery notion that, despite his shortcomings, he's one of the last of the good guys, that his uniform does indeed stand for something decent and noble. Their friendship and camaraderie is deep and real in a way few in movies out of Hollywood ever are.

The two of them are in a state of increasing anxiety as a result of their superiors' arrogant, short-sighted decision to rely on a new motion detector technology to "assist" border patrol units in performing these difficult, high stress jobs. K.K. and Williams are convinced that this reliance will at worst render 3/4 of uniformed personnel useless and soon put them out of work, and at best will severely alter the complexion of their day to day duties. They fear it will rob them of their sense of freedom and adventure. (Williams is by no means thrilled at the prospect of sitting in a room staring at a computer screen all day.)

Fed up, they are both looking for a ticket out. K.K. seems to find one in the form of a wrecked jeep buried under mounds of dirt and mud in the middle of nowhere. He unearths $800,000 in cash in the wreckage as well as the driver's skeletal remains. A look at the corpse's license reveals that, amazingly, he must have been rotting there undiscovered for at least 20 years, placing his last moments alive somewhere in the early 1960's. Wisely reasoning that if the money has gone un-missed for that long, he has as much right as anyone else to claim it, K.K. wants to split the cash with his buddy Williams and take off immediately for Mexico. Williams is tempted, as anyone in his shoes would be, but has his doubts. It doesn't pass the smell test and also won't quite square with his nagging personal code of honor.

To placate Williams K.K. allows himself to be talked into doing some detective work first, to see if they're able to determine who exactly the money once belonged to, and whether or not it's clean. At a certain point in this investigation they come to the shocking realization that they're up against an evil so defiant, so entrenched that even when staring down the barrel of a loaded revolver it won't budge an inch. It all hits home in one of the most chillingly emblematic shots in the history of American film: the pair have just made a gruesome discovery inside an abandoned shack in the desert; the camera pulls back to show them staggering outside silently and dropping to their knees in horror against a backdrop of sand and sky.

"Flashpoint" stands besides films such as "Treasure of The Sierra Madre" and Rod Serling's "Patterns" as unflinching, uniquely American movies that reveal more about who we really are at different points in our tumultuous history than just about any other hundred films combined. It will give future generations a strong sense of what our hopes, our fears, our struggles and suspicions truly were at the time. Its clear-eyed, uncompromised vision is so atypical it's jarring. You keep expecting it to take some wrong turn down Formula Road as so many other conspiracy thrillers do, but it bravely sticks to its narrow, bumpy, unpaved path.

Scoff all you want, and of course this movie has been virtually ignored by critics and audiences for going on 17 years now, but this is one of the best movies of its decade. Rip Torn's sage advice for a shell-shocked Kristofferson at the end will stick with you. "Don't be a martyr. We already got enough of those. Be different. Be the one that got away."
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I still love this movie
cobrafunk25 July 2002
HBO movie that was shown on their network and also shown in theatres{at least in my area}.From the outset i think the story was both intriguing and thought provoking.Treat Williams does an excellent job as the disgruntled border patrol agent who is so fed up things that anything will set him off.The desert scenes were shot very well and the music from Tangerine Dream just goes exceptionally well throughout the picture.My only complaint is with the editing off the movie which was a few holes but i will give first-time director William Tannen a break there.Great ensemble of cast including Rip Torn who never dissapoints.The movie is peppered here and there with some pretty humorous moments which just add to the enjoyment of the film.I had been waiting for a dvd version to come out but i gave up recently and got the new vhs version which wasn't too bad.
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8/10
come for the plot-decoding challenge; stay for the characterizations.
malcolmi12 September 2006
Eight hundred thousand dollars buried in desert sand in a wrecked Jeep just might be a ticket out of a Border Patrol job turning more bureaucratic and stifling by the moment. Agents Kris Kristofferson and Treat Williams try to find where the dollars, and the Jeep, and its dead driver,have come from. They'd like to split with the money and escape the irritating changes about to drive them off the Texas desert they know so well, but honesty and curiosity compel them to make sure the money's not tainted. Federal agent Kurtwood Smith, in from Washington knowing all the answers full well, has other plans for them.

I saw this film in its first release in 1984, and admired the way in which the script explored nuances of the conspiracy-fuelled '60s in American society and politics. I also liked the skill with which the script dropped hints and clues that, by film's end, were perfectly clear and coherent - a pleasing adjunct to the major puzzle of the decade. But in the years of watching it since, I've come to like best the acting skills which the cast, ably directed, demonstrate with texture and charm. Kristofferson and Williams are among the most appealing buddies you'll find in any thriller - in fact I can't think of a better pair; they complement each other as well as Al Pacino and John Goodman do in Sea of Love, and that's the highest praise I can offer. I can't think why Kristofferson and Williams (or Pacino and Goodman, for that matter) haven't been paired again by an enterprising producer. Jean Smart and Tess Harper are equally charming and nuanced in smaller roles made large by Smart's fiery energy and Harper's thoughtful attractiveness. Miguel Ferrer and Guy Boyd are perfect as a pair of amiably corrupt colleagues. On the dark side, Smith and Patrol boss Kevin Conway, as well as "Department of Public Safety" (ie. Texas Ranger) marshal Rip Torn, show how true villains are simply focused career men who believe implacably in the warped values they've espoused. Torn, at least, has the grace to change. At the end, he makes a statement to Kristofferson which might be our beacon too, our rationale for keeping up the search for truth in this lie-filled first decade of the new century: Looking back at his own choices, and forward to Kristofferson's tense future, Torn barks "Do it! Be the one who got away! Whatever happens, should've happened years ago." A very fine action film, remarkably well-performed.
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9/10
Compelling mystery and suspense with big scenery
A.N.26 November 2003
For whatever reason this movie is one of my favorites. I like movies more for their overall atmosphere than any plot particulars, and this delivers those rare ingredients.

There's something intangible about the southwestern locations and the border patrol lifestyle that creates a mood not found in many films. The big desert vistas contrast well with the daily routines and grim duties of the characters.

I think "Flashpoint" is in a similar class with "Breakdown," where roller-coaster events keep unfolding and remain unpredictable until the very end. It may be somewhat obscure but I wouldn't call it a "B movie" by any means.
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Flashpoint rare unseen gem
William Tanner makes a very memorable and enjoyable flick with "Flashpoint". Good premise Treat Williams and Kris play two border portral guards going nowhere (like many in California). They soon uncover a buried dead body and jeep but next to that they find a bundle of cash. It turns out the cash was the loot of a former crook now dead.

Kristofferson's character wants to cash in the money and get the hell out of town but Williams characters wants to investigate why this sap got killed. LOL It's a little far fetch but the last half hour make up for it.

I loved another depiction of the FBI as the oorrupt greedy corporation they are especially with the guy from Robocop playing a crooked agent.

Could have used more action but "Flashpoint" has good acting and a good soundtrack.
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7/10
Not genius, but a decent mystery
noahsdad-31-28560818 April 2011
I remember well watching Flashpoint on HBO in the summer 1984. It was a really good movie then, and remains one of my favorites today. This was one of the earliest filmmaking partnerships the fledgling cable movie network attempted. The success of Flashpoint, and a handful of others, eventually evolved into one of the most innovative film production companies in modern cinema.

While Flashpoint played in a handful of theaters in a few major markets, it was always intended for the small screen (that's what we called TV when a 27-inch CRT was considered big). I'm quite sure a 16:9 version does not even exist.

Based on the modestly successful novel by George LaFountaine, the film strays from the original story in many respects. As one might expect, the book is significantly longer, with a vastly more complicated plot. The characters of Logan and Wiatt are reversed in terms of their backgrounds and personalities. Desert Rat "Amarillo" and Sheriff Wells factor more thickly into the tale, and the Feds are even more ruthless - but the twist and payoff are the same.

Overall, director William Tannen's treatment is well done. It is clearly a modest budget film, I suspect the lion's share was spent on the drug bust scene and Kristofferson's contract. In case you didn't know, Kris was a hot property in the 80s, and commanded steep appearance fees. Treat Williams was a virtual unknown, as was Kurtwood Smith (later to gain fame as the father in "That 70s Show"). Rip Torn and Roberts Blossom are their usual brilliant, crusty, lovable selves. Tess Harper and Jean Smart both have limited roles, but provide a love interest for our protagonists, and additional visual appeal beyond the stunning panorama of the West Texas border country.

What really keeps this film rolling is the outstanding score by Tangerine Dream. It is alternately compelling and ominous in all the right places. The music is clearly 80s instrumentation, but has a timeless quality that keeps it fresh, even today. The curious choice of a poorly written and awkwardly performed Kristofferson ballad over the closing titles is the only flaw in the soundtrack; but again, that most likely resulted from over excitement at landing such a hot star for such a modest film.

If you're looking for a cinematic masterpiece, this isn't it. But if you enjoy a well-crafted mystery that brushes lightly against one of the pivotal points of the 20th century, Flashpoint is 90 minutes well spent.
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6/10
Engaging Border Patrol Mystery.
Robert J. Maxwell3 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I'll skip the plot except to say that two Border Patrol agents find a horde of money in the desert, have a fight with nasties in which one agent is killed, and the survivor takes off with the stash for Mexico.

You can't help watching this without thinking of Jack Nicholson in "The Border." "The Border" is far more believable. The heavy turns out to be Nicholson's best friend. And when Nicholson tries to rescue a damsel in distress in a Mexican cat house the bouncers clobber him and throw him into the street. (There's a moral lesson there somewhere.) And the social problem dealt with is real -- illegal immigrants.

In "Flashpoint" everything is simpler. Except maybe the editing, which lost me here and there, someplace along Soledad Mountain and Thor Mountain and La Bonza Pass. Instead of commonplace human smuggling, "Flashpoint" has a Big Mystery that needs unraveling. There are James-Bond sorts of geophysical "ovulators" that are hidden in the ground and can tell when something passing is more than two feet tall.

There's very little ambiguity. We know right away which of the boys is strong and which is weak. Treat Williams comes to work drunk and the taller, older, deeper-voiced Kris Kristofferson must sober him up. And we know that Williams is the more idealistic of the two because there is a scene in which Kristofferson tells his girlfriend so. There are two women involved -- Tess Harper and Jean Smart -- and I like them because neither is staggeringly beautiful, but they really add nothing to the plot except to establish the fact that Kristofferson and Williams are not lovers themselves. The women disappear when no longer needed.

We know right away who the bad guys are too. Why? Because they LOOK bad. Kurtwood Smith. There's a name to conjure with. Like Michael Ironsides the poor guy is a die-stamped heavy. He looks like the kind of guy of whom the neighbors say, "He mostly kept to himself." His facial features are in harmony with the sentiments of an assassin. If he does nothing more than show his face he's guilty of indecent exposure. He cannot speak without sneering. He's insulting when he doesn't need to be. He's cynical and vulgar. He wears street shoes instead of boots -- and a SUIT. And of course he's a remorseless killer.

He represents a problem though, for those viewers given to trying to figure out just what the hell is going on. What is he actually DOING there? At one point he deliberately foils a drug bust. Is he there because of something to do with drugs? Evidently not, because later on he tries frantically to cover up the Big Mystery. Maybe that's his job. But in that case, why do he and his assistants show up before anyone even realizes that there is a Big Mystery to be solved? And what agency does he represent? Well, here's his explanation. Kristofferson: "Who are you?" Smith: "I'm a fixer. I fix things." Kristofferson: "What do you fix?" Smith: "Whatever needs fixing." The mind is inexorably whisked back to "The Border" because Harvey Keitel is in "The Border," and those are roughly his lines in two or three movies he's made with people like Quention Tarantino. On the other hand, similar job specs crop up pretty commonly all over the place, like chicken pox among third graders.

The acting is adequate. No more than that. There is a scene in "The Border" in which Nicholson and Keitel are leaving work and Keitel is rambling on thoughtfully about how little difference their work makes to anyone. The employers want the illegals, and the illegals want the work. Sometimes, Keitel muses, it almost seems like we're on the wrong side. At this point, Nicholson halts, half turns to Keitel, and asks, "What are you fishing for?" The scene only last thirty seconds yet it illustrates the difference between ordinary actors and very talented actors indeed. There is nothing like this scene in "Flashpoint." The lines all sound written out, and not always well. Treat Williams, who was great in "Prince of the City," is underwhelmed by the script here. He's given a joke to tell in a bar -- something about a car full of penguins -- and everyone at his table is drinking beer and flushed with laughter -- and the joke just isn't funny.

Yet the movie is engaging. Pale green Border Patrol jeeps bounce around on rough sandy desert roads. The Sonoran desert has never looked better. And Roberts Blossom as a wiry and sharp old aeronautical engineer is fun. I think the performance I most enjoyed was Rip Torn's. He's almost always good, but in the role of the sheriff he could easily pass for the home-grown Texan that he is. A real pro.

Worth seeing. No messages. A little confusing, but well paced and packed with mystery and color.
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7/10
A Suspenseful Adventure Enhanced by the Music of Tangerine Dream
Claudio Carvalho5 September 2003
Bobby Logan (Kris Kristofferson) and Ernie Wyatt (Treat Williams) are Texas border officers working in the area of San Antonio. They both are threatened of loosing their jobs due to the utilization of a type of underground radars to locate illegal immigrants from Mexico. One day, Bobby finds a buried 1962 jeep, with a skeleton, a rifle and a wallet with US$ 800,000.00 (in 1984 – it was lots of money) in bills of 1962 and 1963 and shares this discover with his pal Ernie. These findings will jeopardize their lives, and this situation will long until the last scene of this suspenseful movie. A great thriller and adventure, that has traces of `The X-Files', with a mystery and conspiracy in the government without a conclusive end. Further, this movie is extremely enhanced by the music of Tangerine Dream. My vote is seven.
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8/10
Bizarre, confusing, but well worth watching
mushrom2 January 2001
I remember seeing this movie when it first came out in 1984, and was frankly lost. But several years ago I found it on video and bought it. After seeing it all over again, I now understand it.

This movie is very similar in some ways to The Sixth Sense. There were lots of plot items sitting in the open, but you never see them. Clues and hints are dropped constantly into this movie. And at the end, is where they are all suddenly brought together.

I do not compare this to Sixth Sense for quality, but it is worth seeing in my opinion. Expecially if you are one of the JFK conspiracy nuts. There is enough information in this movie alone to give Oliver Stone 4 or 5 more movies.
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10/10
The Most Under Rated Movie I've Ever Seen!
derbycityusa20 December 2013
Prior to stumbling on this thriller, the movie Southern Comfort was the most under rated GREAT movie I had ever seen.

This movie surpassed that! To put it mildly,this movie is awesome! It's fast paced, it's believable, and it's got a GREAT ending that you'll never figure out. All of the actors do a superb and believable job in their respective parts and this ninety - four (94) minute thriller is FANTASTIC!

The IMDb movie rating really surprised me because everyone I have ever turned on to this movie has flipped over it in a manner like I did.

Regardless, it's a GREAT movie that I believe will become a classic years from now.
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6/10
Neat little Conspiracy Thriller
dazfiddy24 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This film hardly gets any showing on television, but it fits in nicely into the sub genre of conspiracy thriller movies like Executive Action,Winter Kills and The Parallex View.

This is a sideways look at the Kennnedy Conspiracy from the point of view of two bystanders who happen to be cops.Kris Kristoferson and Treat Williams play Border Patrol officers who stumbled upon a buried jeep, a body, a rifle and a whole lot of cash in the Texas desert.Who could it be?Why have the Feds shown up all of a sudden?Could there be a link?Should they take the money and split or investigate? It has a great cast of actors who would go on to be familiar faces like Tess Harper, Miguel Ferrer,Kurtwood Smith and Jean Smart.Kristoferson and Williams are always reliable actors.

This an interesting movie that asks what happened to the Other Gunmen if you believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was not acting alone on 22 November 1963.Oliver Stone's JFK was then first big studio movie to explicitly challenge the Warren Commission report.Some films are made just before their time, which means that it will be overlooked.
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8/10
If this is still a free country?!...
Artemis-925 July 1999
I would like to contradict another citizen of the movie world about this movie. The plot is not childish, though it has a couple of holes in it (like events around the supporting male star), but it demands the viewer attention to details - a characteristic of a good cop. But the picture is about that, good cops - and showing, as in a western of the mid 70s, that all cowboys and cops are rotten, only in different ways. This grim view of society (a society built in the capitalist, Washingtonian way) is very boring, and stupid for many that prefer to view life as kinky, and prefer to assume the dollar bills are more clean then those 800,000 we see in a bag in the desert... If you have not seen plainclothes men (from Washington, Moscow, or Lisboa) acting like elephants in a China store, you would assume those actors were really bad. Learn more, please. The ending will be surprising and emotional for viewers attentive enough to discern the real plot behind the plot. It is all about the industrial-military complex taking over the lives of everybody in the USA, and reaching as far out as across the Atlantic, and even the Mediterranean, as the Kosovo War reminded us. A B-movie, yes! A bad movie, decidedly, passionately not. There are plenty of FLASHPOINT titles around, as if to confuse viewers on purpose. Would that be part of the conspiracy this movie is all about? :-)
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10/10
Kris Kristofferson JFK and a neat premise.
bluesman-2023 August 2014
When Flashpoint first came out I was almost 14. When I saw it I did so mainly for Kristofferson who still to this very day remains one of my favourites. Either singing or acting . Flashpoint is a neat premise the book is better though. Kristofferson and Treat Williams play Logan and Ernie. Two border patrol agents who find that life is getting rougher by the day. Faced with the possibility of being out of work by computers or stuck behind a desk. The two pals are stuck in a rut. They'd leave by go where ? and with what money ? then Logan finds a buried jeep a skeleton with a rifle and 800 thousand dollars . Logan takes the money. covers up his tracks and tells Ernie. Ernie is careful maybe too careful. He refuses to take the money until he finds out who did it belong to and why was the driver there. they track it down. and as they get closer to the answers the federal government sends in men in black. They claim to be troubleshooters here to help the border patrol but in reality what they are is more chilling. Soon friends start dying and Ernie and Logan find out they are in way over their heads. and now they are in a race against time to get the money and run. But not before the final answer comes to them as to who the man was. and what he did for 8oo thousand dollars. It's implied he killed President Kennedy. But still the movie is fun. The acting is solid. and the movie moves along at a nice little pace. Worth seeing if you find it on DVD or on a late night movie.
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4/10
Feels like a TV movie
vostf6 August 2016
The quiet lives of a team of Border Patrol officers are very well depicted: they enjoy what they do and life isn't too difficult for our nice civil servants from Texas. But things change and it is tough to make strong decisions when you have settled in with your nice little habits.

Frankly, don't watch Flashpoint if you already know the basis for the premise. So don't watch it because how would you have heard of this HBO TV-movie from 1984 were it not for its premise? BTW the premise is heavily introduced in a dumb prologue and then nothing until it is heavily exposed in the dumb epilogue, so seriously, don't expect too much of it.

It could have been much better if all the chapter in the movie had been better connected. As such it is really difficult to root for the buddies since you have plenty of time to wonder about what they are doing.
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Underrated
tflanagan-684199 May 2018
As others have noted its a fairly old, and at the time bold little conspiracy idea. Don't watch it with a jaded eye. I saw it when it came out. It's not masterful but its clever and solid. If you are a wanna be mili film critic then it may be lost on you
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3/10
I beg to differ
jake_fantom6 March 2018
A turgid script filled with comic book villains, cheerful misogyny, and sappy dialog plus absolutely leaden performances by Kristofferson and Treat Williams (seriously, dude, your name is Treat?), and an incomprehensible plot, result in one of the least interesting action movies of the 80s. I believe this is a made-for-HBO movie before they figured out how to do series like the Sopranos. It looks like a typical no-budget made-for-TV movie with the addition of a couple of raunchy scenes and a few dozen swear words. The only thing more baffling than the end is why I watched it to the end. But as an act of generosity, I am awarding this turkey three whole stars - for the 3 minutes of screen time occupied by one of the film's stars, Rip Torn, who delivers a patented Rip Torn performance that at least lets you know you are watching an actual actor.
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5/10
"Every morning when I get up, I thank God for drugs and murder and subversion."
Steve Skafte22 October 2010
"Flashpoint" is, essentially, an unbalanced action film that doesn't really know what it wants to be. It could be lighthearted comedy/action, or a mystery, or something else altogether. Whatever it ends up being isn't really complete or wholly compelling. The script is not worth mentioning here. So, what is good? The actors, for the most part. I've always liked Kris Kristofferson, and he usually earns it. His performance is very believable. The best performance is actually by Kurtwood Smith, who plays the heavy. He offers up one of the most menacing and powerful monologues I've ever heard in a scene where his and Kristofferson's characters wait to make a drug bust. I was glad to see Tess Harper, one of my favorite actresses. She's given little or nothing to do, but she has a compelling presence. Two-thirds of the way through the film, she disappears as if she never really mattered in the first place. On the other end, acting wise, Rip Torn offers up a totally ridiculous characterization and nearly ends up embarrassing himself. And he's usually quite good, in my opinion.

There's not much else to speak of here. William Tannen is not what you would exactly call an inspired director. This is the only thing approaching a decent film that he was ever involved with. Peter Moss provides some good cinematography, so there's usually at least something worth looking at. Tangerine Dream's soundtrack IS nice, with the right elements of mystery and tension. But a real low point is the closing credits theme. The lyrics sum up basically everything we've seen in the film in the most obvious, unimaginative way. It's like some sort of cheesy rock/folk storytelling song. If you felt like the ending had any sort of good quality, I can guarantee that this stupid song will take that thought straight out of your head.

"Flashpoint" is pretty much an example of a film that is only interesting in context. There's plenty of other films from this era that are timeless or have at least aged pretty well. This is not one of them.
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8/10
Pros And Cons Of Flashpoint
snorlax31119846 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Pros 1. A movie like this doesn't work if you don't like the main characters and I certainly did. Country Singer Kris Kristofferson brings a whole lot of folksy charm to Logan and Treat WIlliams does a good job of making Ernie's burnout relatable and understandable. It's hard to see Kris Kristofferson crying over Treat William's death and not think of him crying over the death of Charlotte Rampling in "Heaven's Gate" (at least Treat Williams died in a better movie).

2. I always get a kick out of seeing technology in 80's movies that was state of the art at the time, like the computer graphics shown in the conference on installing sensors on borderlands. The whole thing about these sensors putting Border Patrol Agents out of the field adds more tension to the whole plot with the lost money. If Logan and Ernie don't use that money, their careers are going places they don't like.

3. Kurtwood Smith shows, as he would further show in "Robocop" and "That 70's Show" that he's great at playing a jerk. Anybody else would sound cheesy if they recited that speech about being thankful for drugs and crime because they otherwise wouldn't have a job. It sounds natural coming from a Kurtwood Smith character. It's certainly a high point of the movie when Logan shoots that SOB.

4. Ernie's story about the penguins is pretty funny. The laughs in this movie work just as well as the action scenes.

5. One of the best scenes is when Ernie chews out the Latino man (for bringing in illegal aliens in his "stolen" vans) who's so slimy you can practically see it oozing out of his pores. Ernie knows how to tell it like it is. He also throws some well deserved jabs at the seedy man's lawyer.

6. I disagree in general with Leonard Maltin's negative review of Flashpoint but I definitely disagree with Maltin's view that it has the worst theme song of any 1984 movie. It's not performed by Prince or Ray Parker Jr. but I think it's pretty awesome. I don't think any of the 1984 theme songs I've heard are bad but my least favorite is the theme song to "Blame It On Rio" (appropriate as I thought it was the 2nd worst movie of 1984 after Bolero).

7. Best Line Logan: My daddy always said "if you can't get out of it, get into it" Ernie: I thought your dad said "if you can't fix it, f--- it" Logan: He said that, too

Cons 1. Something about the lost money related to the JFK Assassination seems like it doesn't fit with the rest of the movie. All of a sudden Rip Torn comes back to the movie and says how they paid the guy to shoot the president. It's like they didn't think the movie was interesting enough so they tacked on this element at the 11th element and say this fictional character killed JFK.

2. The movie just kind of stops just when it's really getting interesting. Not surprising since we only learn at the end about Rip Torn being involved with the JFK assassination. It's like their setting up for a sequel that never happened, especially the way Kris Kristofferson says to Rip Torn "I'll be back, tell them that".

3. I really liked Tess Harper and the sweetness she brought to her character. I wished she was in the movie more.
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8/10
Some things in the desert are best left buried
Woodyanders23 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Easygoing cynic Bobby Logan (an excellent and engaging performance by Kris Kristofferson) and his short-tempered idealist partner Ernie Wyatt (superbly played by Treat Williams) are a couple of Texas border patrol guards who find a jeep buried in the desert with $800,000 dollars in cash in it. However, said jeeps turns out to have a dangerous link to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Director William Tannen relates the gripping story at a brisk pace, grounds the premise in a plausible workaday reality, makes fine use of the desolate desert locations, and ably crafts a tense paranoid atmosphere. The intelligent script by Dennis Shryack and Michael Butler not only offers an interesting array of believably complex characters and a marvelously labyrinthine narrative, but also provides a fascinating and provocative exploration on the themes of loyalty, morality, and corruption. The ace acting by the tip-top cast keeps this film humming: Rip Torn as the crusty Sheriff Wells, Kevin Conway as ramrod chief Brooks, Kurtwood Smith as slimy and duplicitous fed Carson, Tess Harper as the sweet Ellen, Jean Smart as the brash Doris, Miguel Ferror as the smarmy Roget, Roberts Blossom as scraggly hermit Amarillo, and Guy Boyd as sarcastic smartaleck Lambasino. Kristofferson and Williams display a winning natural chemistry in the leads. Kudos are also in order for Peter Moss's sharp cinematography and the moody synthesizer score by Tangerine Dream. Only the horribly cornball ending credits theme song leaves something to be desired. A real sleeper.
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5/10
It's "OK", that's about it.
jimel9812 February 2016
"Every morning when I get up, I thank God for drugs and murder and subversion." That is the best line in the entire movie and I thank Steve Skafte of Nova Scotia for including it in his review. Kurtwood Smith is, for me the highlight of this otherwise, "OK" movie.

But first, a couple of the review titles are kind of give-a-ways to the story's end. I'm glad I didn't look at this page or the review until AFTER seeing the movie.

With that said, I wasn't overly impressed. I've never thought Kris Kristofferson was a great actor, nor a great singer, but he's a better actor than a singer. Not a popular opinion on either count, but that's where I stand. He's "OK" in this movie, so is Treat Williams. Slightly better than "OK", he's actually GOOD. I'll end it there as for the acting. No wait, Kevin Conway was a little too stereotypical of the tough boss. Terrific actor, but come on, had he toned it down just a bit, it would have been a very nice job, not just...."OK".

One of my biggest gripes however is how all these Border Patrol Agents can be listening to the radio and yet still miss that two of their own are dead. Sorry, but if the Sheriff and the creepy secret police guys got wind, it HAD to go over the radio at some point. Pre-Cell Phone era, right? Real life would have seen every agent in the area swarm down on the barn, even if told not to. And yet, no matter what, people seem to hear selectively and no one is phased by all the insanity going on around them. No one seems to notice ANYTHING unusual except our heroes.

I know, I know, it's just a movie, calm down. But a movie is supposed to pull you in, make you want to believe what you're seeing is real, even if only for the length of the movie. This didn't for me. It was just a bit borderline DUMB, slight pun intended.

And lastly, though I have no association with the Border Patrol, I felt insulted on their behalf by a few lines here and there that essentially made the Border Patrol seem like a meaningless, nothing agency full of malcontents and people with no where else to go. That is a fine agency that deserves a bit more respect than the movie gave it, no a LOT more respect.

"The Border" with Jack Nicholson really only made a few of the Agents look bad, and since bad people can end up on ANY job, that was fine (even though Nicholson's character was essentially a good guy doing a bad thing)but "Flashpoint" insulted the agency a bit. At least I felt it did.

But that's not why I find the movie only "OK". I just wasn't impressed on the whole and yet, I watched it from start to finish and walked away satisfied....that it was on HBO and I didn't pay any extra money to watch it. That's the best way to see an a movie that just, "OK"!
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3/10
Strictly for Treat Williams fans
trimmtrabb6205 March 2008
It starts out promising enough, coming across as a low-rent 'Simple Plan' with a budget Bill Pullman (Treat Williams, saving some scenes with that 'Prince of the City' bluster) and Kris Kristofferson (taking his shirt off more than thrice) coming across a jeep from 1963 carrying a bolt-action rifle, a skeleton (which really didn't get enough shots), and a lot of cash-money to drop like it's hott. Kris wants to keep the dollar-dollar bills y'all without question but Treat wants to investigate where it came from and get some semblance of a plot underway.

From there, I'm not quite sure what goes sour. The film switches gears to a drug bust and then tries unsuccessfully to return to the original plot. If there was a connection between the drug bust and the original plot, beyond introducing Kurtwood Smith into the film, I missed it. Miguel Ferrer is underused and Smith is saddled with a lame TV movie villain role. He was much better in 'Robocop'. In fact, they both were. Much better.

There's a scene of showstoppingly stupid dialogue between Smith and Kristofferson where you can tell the writers are trying to make a point about crime but just aren't articulate enough to get it across. There's about 45 minutes where it feels like nothing happened. The climax is predictable and although the ending has some intelligence to it, you're just too worn down by then to appreciate it. The theme song at the end (of course it's very 80's, about 'love on the run', and called 'Flashpoint') is hilarious. Not recommended.
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Run for the Border
DrPhilmreview6 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Screenwriter Dennis Shryack wastes good source material with this deary adaptation of the novel "Flashpoint". I guess you can't expect much from a guy who's resume includes "The Gauntlet", "Turner and Hootch" and "Rent-a-Cop". He was the wrong guy to do this adaptation. Director William Tannen adds to the disappointment that is "Flashpoint" by draining the film of suspense and tension at every turn. And the big reveal of what's really going on is more botched and confusing than earth-shattering as it should be. I like Treat Williams and Kris Kristofferson but they seem to be set adrift in this story that just kind of meanders along until it figures its run long enough to be released. Not a complete waste of time, thanks to Kristofferson, Williams and Rip Torn, but darn close.
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