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  Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man Who Were Those Guys?
Year: 1991
Director: Simon Wincer
Stars: Mickey Rourke, Don Johnson, Chelsea Field, Daniel Baldwin, Giancarlo Esposito, Vanessa Williams, Robert Ginty, Tia Carrere, Julius Harris, Eloy Casados, Big John Studd, Tom Sizemore, Mitzi Martin, Kelly Hu, James Nardini, Sven Ole-Thorsen
Genre: Action, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: A man known only as Harley Davidson (Mickey Rourke) rides through the futuristic America of 1996, not one to be tied down to any one place or person, though he has a yearning to return to an old bar he used to frequent in Los Angeles. Pausing briefly to stop a gas station hold-up out in the desert and liberating one of the soundly beaten criminals' guns, he opts to seek it out, as meanwhile his old friend The Marlboro Man (Don Johnson) is trying to win a bet at pool, something he is all too accomplished at much to the chagrin of his opponent, though if there's one thing both mates are good at it's taking care of themselves...

This was one of the worst reviewed movies of all time, as if a whole decade of cheerfully, and many times all-too-sincerely, brainless action flicks had brought the world to the final straw and people just weren't going to take this bullshit any longer. So it was to nobody's surprise that the film flopped, with both of the leading men making no secret of the fact they considered it a career dead end and regretting ever having signed on for it, and yet there was a small contingent of buffs who regarded it as perhaps not classic material, but nothing like as bad as most people had made out: why make this the whipping boy?

Well, for a start if you had a choice between watching this and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid you would be wiser to choose the earlier film, as for some reason screenwriter Don Michael Paul thought that was ideal for a science fiction remake, though not so much that the characters were firing off laser guns or flying hovercycles. The Western favourite had Paul Newman and Robert Redford, and there can't have been many who believed their replacements here were of equal star wattage, with Rourke already committing career suicide and considered at best a squanderer of his talent, and Johnson too indelibly connected to television to have most audiences accept him on the silver screen.

Butch and Sundance had Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head, this had Bon Jovi singing about the steel horse they ride, and exactly how would that work, then? Surely a steel horse wouldn't move very far? Unless they were talking about some kind of funfair ride, or maybe one of those rides for little kids outside supermarkets? ANYWAY. When this opens with a disclaimer that nobody received any product placement dollars for that title, it did have you wondering why they didn't just call the movie Harvey Donaldson and the Musselburgh Man or something more reminiscent of counterfeit goods which would be more appropriate seeing as how this was the downmarket brand version of the 1969 classic.

That bar Harley and Marley, er, Marlboro are so fond of is about to be closed down, so they decide to help out their old friends by raising some cash for them. Or rather, they plot to rob an armoured car (instead of a train) which they manage to succeed in except their spoils turn out to be lots of those made up drugs beloved of sci-fi of this era, leaving them with the problem of how to change that for money, especially as our heroes are not drugs dealers. Complicating matters are a group of heavies clad in bulletproof anoraks who for some reason don't think to use the same material for gloves and hats, although for some other reason the good guys don't think about aiming for their heads until the last shootout. These henchmen are working for a Japanese-speaking Tom Sizemore, a head honcho of some corporate villainy, who the dynamic duo must overcome to get around to a quiet life. For all the brickbats this received, it was purely undemanding, though not all that good in that vein, but you could see why it would fit the bill as easy to watch. Music by Basil Poledouris.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Simon Wincer  (1943 - )

Australian director who began working in TV in his homeland. Directed the horror flick Snapshot, before heading to Hollywood scoring a hit with the sci-fi adventure D.A.R.Y.L. Wincer had success on the small screen with the award-winning western Lonesome Dove and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, and on the big screen directed the likes of Free Willy, Quigley Down Under and The Phantom.

 
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