Scudder is a detective with the Sheriff's Department who is forced to shoot a violent suspect during a narcotics raid. The ensuing psychological aftermath of this shooting worsens his drinking problem and this alcoholism causes him to lose his job, as well as his marriage. During his recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous, he meets a mysterious stranger who draws him back into a world of vice. In trying to help this beautiful woman, he must enter a crime-world of prostitution and drugs to solve a murder, while resisting the temptation to return to his alcohol abuse.Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Oliver Stone was very displeased with how the final version of the film turned out as it had little to do with his original script, which subsequently was re-written by R. Lance Hill who reported straight to producer Mark Damon an act which offended Hal Ashby. Hill's draft of the script was not popular with the producers or the cast and contained a huge gun battle climax in an airport which would inflate the budget to at least $16 million. Robert Towne was then hired to doctor the script for a fee of $250,000 (a quarter of his usual amount) and began erasing much of Hill's work. While the producers tried to console Hill he was furious with Ashby and claimed he had been back-stabbed. Towne was highly critical of Hill's effort on the script, claiming "if it had any more clarity it might have risen to the dignity of an exploitation film." The dialogue was further revised in improvisation. Hill only visited the set once and wanted to have his name taken off the picture but it was too late as the credits were already made up for it. Hill opted to use his pseudonym of 'David Lee Henry' for his work on the film. See more »
When Angel hands over cheek slaps and hugs to his colleagues before the showdown, a boom mic operator changing his position can be seen reflecting from the side of the car in front. See more »
You think I'm a fool? That's rude, man. You're being disrespectful and rude.
Matthew 'Matt' Scudder:
Rude? Come on, you were rude all over the fucking street with Sunny, weren't you? Rude?
Let me explain something to you, what happend to Sunny, man. What happened to her, is people think that if you have to kill somebody in the course of... doing business, sometimes it pays to advertise. You know, make it messy. Remind people they bleed when they die. It might even prevent more killings.
Matthew 'Matt' Scudder:
You're a real humanitarian.
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I saw this film a couple of nights ago. I only bothered as it was a Hal Ashby movie & I'm a big fan. He didn't let me down. Ok it's not a masterpiece or even amongst his best but it's still a powerfully intense thriller. Superficially similar to Scarface it is less showy, more personal & more convincing. Garcia's stylised gangster with his 'Gaudi' affectations almost unsettles the realism but is compulsive. Bridges turns in another superb performance as the hard-boiled, ex-cop battling with alcoholism & other demons. Ashby's Chandleresque take on 80's LA is familiar but beautifully vivid nevertheless. What raises it above the plethora of dark 80's thrillers is it's old-fashioned 70's values like complex character and troubled hero not in control of the narrative over fast-pace, shallow action & irony. To the post-Star Wars generation '8 Million Ways' may look meandering and indulgent but this says more about their limitations as film fans than it does about the film.
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