Working largely in cases of counterfeiting, LA based Secret Service agent Richie Chance exhibits reckless behavior which according to his longtime and now former partner Jimmy Hart will probably land him in the morgue before he's ready to retire. That need for the thrill manifests itself in his personal life by his love of base jumping. Professionally, it is demonstrated by the fact that he is sextorting a parolee named Ruth Lanier, who feeds him information in return for him not sending her back to prison for some trumped up parole violation. With his new partner John Vukovich, Chance is more determined than ever, based on recent circumstances, to nab known longtime counterfeiter Ric Masters, who is more than willing to use violence against and kill anyone who crosses him. Masters is well aware that the Secret Service is after him. Masters' operation is somewhat outwardly in disarray, with Chance being able to nab his mule, Carl Cody, in the course of moving some of the fake money, ...Written by
Both William Petersen and John Pankow were involved with some adaptation of Reginald Rose's play "12 Angry Men". Petersen played Juror #12 in 12 Angry Men (1997) while Pankow played Juror #7 in the 2004 Broadway revival. Director William Friedkin directed an adaptation of this play for TV. See more »
In the opening sequence with the motorcade, traffic is shown going in the opposite direction on the same street and pedestrians are standing outside the hotel a few feet away from the motorcade's arrival. The US Secret Service and local law enforcement completely shut down motorcade routes for events such as the one depicted, and pedestrians would not be allowed to be so close to the motorcade. This indicates the film's budget was insufficient to close down the street and the hotel location. See more »
Admittedly, To Live and Die in L.A. was not well-received by many critics when it was released in 1985. I believe it was because the movie was ahead of its time. Back then, one would have naturally expected an action movie that clearly defines the difference between the good guys and the bad guys. But it would be different in this film.
Without giving too much away, the main cops who are supposedly good guys are unethical. Richard Chance makes it clear that he doesn't care how he would catch the money counterfeiter Rick Masters. But as he tries to attain this goal, he runs into trouble, including a car chase that leads to a drive down the wrong side of the Los Angeles freeway! (Don't ever try that stunt!)
The way I see it, To Live and Die in L.A. is an underrated classic.
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