Rambo Is A Pussy: A Sort of Tribute to Tango & Cash

tango-et-cash-1989-05-gTowards the end of the 1980s, action films were packing up their tents and starting to change tack. Brainless action was becoming a thing of the past and thanks to films like Die Hard, the muscleman was no longer the hero, instead the average Joe in a vest was in charge. Sadly, no one told Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell this and they went and made Tango and Cash.

Tango and Cash is about as brainless as they come, from the character names all the way up to the plot, direction and soundtrack. A terrible film that, much like other terrible films before it, is so bad that it boomerangs back to becoming a real classic.

The plot (and by using that word to describe the story means that the word “plot” will have to retire from public life) centers around the two best cops in L.A.. The first cop is named Ray Tango. Tango is a an up market cop who wears a suit, braces, glasses and worries about stocks and shares, while still finding time to bust ass. This cop is played by Stallone. This was around the time that Stallone became worried that people thought he really was Rocky and that he really was stupid, so he took to wearing glasses all the time and telling anyone who would listen that he could paint and liked reading.

Gabriel Cash on the other hand is a slob, a slob who has no truck with rules, or rule books for that matter. He will happily beat up suspects to get information he needs (he also smiles while he does it, so that is OK) and has a friend called Owen (kind of like a special needs Q) who builds Bond style gadgets for him (such as a cowboy boot with a gun in it and an armoured people carrrier). He is also the best cop in L.A..

Tango and Cash don’t know each other at the beginning of the film, but they know of each other because each time either of them make an arrest, it is front page news. This must have been during the great news drought of Los Angeles in 1989. In fact, Tango and Cash are so good at ridding the streets of crime that super crime kingpin Yves Perret (Jack Palance) decides to spend all of his considerable time and effort in cooking up a rather rubbish plan to frame both cops (murdering them would just make them martyrs apparantly) and get them sent to jail.

Amazingly the plan works and Tango and Cash get sent to jail where they soon become firm friends who make jokes whilst having showers together in prison.

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To say that this film is derivitive and predictable would be an insult to the very concept of words. It is probably the most light weight, feeble and flabby action film I have ever seen. There are attempts to be excting, which fail miserably. The film has a tired and bored feel to it, like everything has been done a million times before and that we are all (including the viewers) going through the motions.  Where it fails as an action film, it fails even more as a light comedy. When Tango and Cash escape from prison, Cash turns to Tango and asks if he stopped “for coffee and a Danish”. Tango says, “I hate Danish”, an in-joke referring to his recent divorce from Danish actress Brigitte Nielsen – quite why he felt the need to go public with that comment is a mystery. We then have a scene in which Kurt Russell has to dress as a woman to escape a night club. Obviously the policeman who he walks past immedietly fancies him – with hilarious consequences. It all leaves you rather doubting that God exists.

 

I don't fancy yours much

I don’t fancy yours much

Talking of derivative, Stallone had seen the classic 1985 Jackie Chan film Police Story and had admired the opening sequence in which Chan stops a bus full of bad guys by standing in the road and pointing a gun at it, when the bus stops suddenly – the bad guys come crashing out of the windows in spectactular fashion.

Stallone liked it so much he asked for it to be written into Tango and Cash and it was, but with one difference: it really sucks. There is none of the style, care and attention or sense of urgency of the Chan version with this scene, the Tango and Cash version just does not make sense and looks totally crap in comparison.

Not to mention that at the climax of this scene, Stallone utters the terible line: “Rambo, is a pussy“, before firing his gun into a gas truck that he believes is full of cocaine. Never mind the fact that the line is horribly self referential and sums up the whole disgusting enterprise of the film in four words, the fact that a policeman would shoot a gas truck that he believed was full of cocaine (potentially killing everyone at the scene including himself) just shows how moronic this film really is.

I wish the problems ended there. In fact the list is endless. Jack Palance is terrible as the bad guy, he seems to have thought he was in pantomime and not actually making a major motion picture. He strolls around the set endlessly barking the words “Tango and Cash” like they are words that summon up a genie. Bryon James (the journeyman of 80s cinema) is on hand to play Palance’s right hand man Requin. He is supposed to be English, and lots of references are made to this fact, but he sounds Australian mixed with Alien.

The soundtrack by Harold “one trick pony” Faltermeyer is also highly derivative of all his other work. This completes the circle of laziness that began with the script.

To sum up, Tango and Cash is a terrible, terrible, ashamed embarresment of a film. However, it is a fine bad-good movie if you are ever at a loss and need to check that you still have a brain.

I leave you with the thought that every movie is better with the ending from Tango and Cash.

Originally posted 2013-03-24 21:56:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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