HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
You Were Never Really Here
Lovely But Deadly
Unsane
Smithereens
Last Warrior, The
Artemis 81
Rampage
Quiet Place, A
Braven
Changeover, The
Isle of Dogs
Funny Cow
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Mad to Be Normal
Beast of Burden
Dead Men Walk
Game Night
Under the Tree
L'Amant Double
Gonin
Coco
Producers, The
Molly's Game
Forest of the Lost Souls, The
Hatchet III
Birdman of Alcatraz
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Wonderstruck
If It Ain't Stiff, It Ain't Worth a Fuck
Nun, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Edie Levy: Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and Ciao! Manhattan
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
   
 
  To Live and Die in L.A. Follow The MoneyBuy this film here.
Year: 1985
Director: William Friedkin
Stars: William Petersen, Willem Dafoe, John Pankow, Debra Feuer, John Turturro, Darlanne Fluegel, Dean Stockwell, Steve James, Robert Downey Sr, Michael Greene, Christopher Allport, Jack Hoar, Valentin de Vargas, Dwier Brown, Michael Chong, Jane Leeves
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Richard Chance (William Petersen) is a Secret Service agent whose partner Jim Hart (Michael Greene) is getting tired of this profession. One night when they are guarding a V.I.P. Chance notices a suspicious figure at the end of the corridor and goes to investigate - rightly so, as it turns out, because the man is a terrorist suicide bomber determined to blow up the hotel. Through a mixture of luck and skill, the two agents see to it that the bomber falls off the roof and his explosives are detonated killing nobody but him, but the ordeal has taken its toll on Hart and he announces his retirement...

And we all know what happens to you if you're a movie cop who announces his retirement, don't we? That's right, unless you're Danny Glover in a Lethal Weapon movie you might as well have put a loaded gun to your head, and so it is with Hart in To Live and Die in L.A., who spends his last three days on the force investigating a counterfeiting operation and winds up murdered by the criminals. They are led by scene-stealing Willem Dafoe, playing artist turned illegal money maker Rick Masters, who makes an instant enemy of Chance after blowing his partner's brains out with a shotgun, but there's a lot of that in this film, one of the most violent cop thrillers of the eighties.

It was looking like director and co-writer William Friedkin had wanted to reinvent the genre for the eighties in a way that he had done for the seventies with his classic The French Connection, except there was a small problem with that: Michael Mann had already done it with his hit television series Miami Vice. Mann was not best pleased when he saw this effort, believing that Friedkin had ripped off his whole act, but as there was no shortage of other filmmakers, lesser ones too, who had done the same, it's not surprising that his case went nowhere. What To Live and Die had in its arsenal was a more bloodthirsty style, although style was definitely the order of the day.

Yet the strange thing is, the filmmakers didn't appear to like their characters very much, fine if the characters were the bad guys, but more problematic if they were the goodies. Or at least, they didn't mind if the audience didn't like them too much, as Chance as played by future CSI star (and Mann's Manhunter star!) Petersen is a real poseur, to use the eighties word, a man who obviously thinks so much of himself that he's willing to work outside the law he is meant to be upholding, and drawn into a downward spiral of his own arrogant methods at crimefighting - he's actually inept at times. It could be that he was simply matching his gleaming, glossy surroundings, but he harks back to the less than lovely cops of the previous decade in his deportment.

Friedkin sustained his film with a kineticism which sweeps you along even as you notice there's no one really to sympathise with, as everyone appears to be on the make, from the telling opening titles to the major players in the story. Every so often there will be a pursuit of some kind, often on foot, but another link to The French Connection arises with one of the great car chases of the era which sees Chance and his antsy new partner Vukovich (John Pankow) stealing a money belt of fake bills from under the noses of the bad guys, but having trouble getting away with it when the hunters become the hunted. Nobody who has seen it will be able to put that chase out of their mind when this film comes up, but there was a further ace up the movie's sleeve with a truly surprising ending, assuredly not something that would ever have happened on Miami Vice and underlining the shiny cynicism of the piece. The surface gloss is so absorbing it's easy to forget that To Live and Die in L.A. was a hard film to warm to. Music by Wang Chung, and doesn't it sound it.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2020 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

William Friedkin  (1935 - )

American writer/director who has struggled throughout his career to escape the legacy of two of his earliest films. Debuted in 1967 with the Sonny & Cher flick Good Times, but it was the gripping French Connection (1971) and phenomenonally popular The Exorcist (1973) that made Friedkin's name and influenced a whole decade of police and horror films. Since then, some of Friedkin's films have been pretty good (Sorcerer, the controversial Cruising, To Live and Die in L.A., Blue Chips, Bug, Killer Joe), but many more (The Guardian, Jade, Rules of Engagement) have shown little of the director's undoubtable talent.

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Arif Kabban
  Robert Segedy
Darren Jones
  Asma Amal
  Chris Lawrence
Enoch Sneed
George White
   

 

Last Updated: