Combustible Celluloid
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With: Gene Hackman, Matt Dillon, Gayle Hunnicutt, Josef Sommer, Victoria Fyodorova, Ilona Grubel, Herbert Berghof, Guy Boyd
Written by: Howard Berk, Don Petersen, based on a story by Leonard Stern
Directed by: Arthur Penn
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 117
Date: 11/08/1985

Target (1985)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Spy Father's Glory

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The great director Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde, Night Moves) teamedwith Gene Hackman for the third and final time in this mid-1980sthriller. Hackman stars as Walter Lloyd, a humble lumberyard manager.His detached, distant son Chris (Matt Dillon) thinks he's boring. Butwhen Walter's wife gets kidnapped while vacationing in Europe, Chrisquickly discovers that his dad is really a retired CIA spy. It's not abad idea, but writers Howard Berk and Don Petersen barely hold ittogether; they're not sure how soon and how much of Walter's secret toreveal and just what Chris's reaction should be. As a result, Dillonoften comes across as petulant and whiny. Penn does the best he can,getting great little moments here and there from both Hackman and Dillonand turning in some superb action sequences, much cleaner and moreexciting than anything we see today. He handles the climactic rescuesequence with a sure, delicate touch, setting the scene in a large, darkwarehouse with no music. But the rest of the plot creaks along andnothing Penn does can align it. This was the beginning of the end forPenn, who in the 20 years since, has only completed four other films,none of which have been worthy of any attention.

DVD Details: Paramount has released this film on a new DVD in 2005. It's letterboxed with a 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtrack, an optional French language track and optional English subtitles, but features no extras.

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