The buddy-cop action movie certainly has been a staple in cinema for a while now. And the makers of this film know that the success lies in a successful clash of well-defined personalities. That's the appeal of this long, loud, silly, over the top, but very fun slick picture from mainstream action specialist John Badham ("Stakeout", etc.). It's got some hilarious lines (the script is by Daniel Pyne and Lem Dobbs, based on a story by Dobbs and Michael Kozoll) perfectly delivered by its well cast stars.
James Woods is John Moss, a hard charging, volatile NYC detective hot on the trail of utterly deranged serial killer The Party Crasher (Stephen Lang), who kills innocent children and lowlife criminals with equal fervor. The already ill-tempered Moss has his patience tested even further when he's ordered to chaperone a spoiled-brat Hollywood star, Nick Lang (Michael J. Fox), who wants to do research for a role he covets and has decided that Moss will provide the perfect inspiration.
The high strung Woods and the endearingly annoying Fox are an ideal pairing; they're both perfectly cast. They're supported by a rich lineup of top character players. Annabella Sciorra is absolutely lovely as Moss' frustrated potential girlfriend. Lang is a riot as the unhinged villain; wait until you get a load of the kinds of things he does. Delroy Lindo is Moss' starstruck boss, and Luis Guzman, LL Cool J, Mary Mara and John Capodice play his colleagues. A young Christina Ricci is amusing as Sciorra's daughter. Penny Marshall has a fun cameo as Langs' agent.
As Nick notices, Moss is a very quotable guy, such as when he's lecturing the naive Nick on what being a *real* cop is like. "We don't get 17 takes to get it right!" But it's also a hoot to see a pampered, naive person like Nick get plunged into the realities of life on the streets of NYC. Another of the highlights is when Nick insists on playing the part of Susan as he attempts to tell Moss what he's doing wrong with his lady.
It all culminates in one of those great movie moments where our heroes are doing battle with the psycho on an enormous replication of Nick's head and hand, created to advertise his latest film vehicle.
Highly recommended to action-comedy fans.
Eight out of 10.