Starring: Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, Yaphet Kotto, John Ashton, Dennis Farina, Joe Pantoliano, Philip Baker-Hall
Directed by: Martin Brest
Synopsis: An accountant is chased by bounty hunters, the FBI, and the Mafia after jumping bail.
This might not be an undiscovered gem as such, it features De Niro after all. It is, however, a film that get’s forgotten in his back catalogue due to the amount of classics he has been in. More and more in recent years De Niro has turned towards comedic roles, compared with the heavy weight roles he used to occupy. Midnight Run is possibly his first foray into comedy, and is a complete success unlike many of his recent efforts.
Charles Grodin plays Jonathan ‘The Duke’ Mardukas, an accountant who embezzles the Mafia. He subsequently skips bail resulting in, not just the mafia, but the FBI and a string of bounty hunters to be tracking him down. One of these bounty hunters is Jack Walsh (De Niro) who has been guaranteed a $100,000 fee by his employer if he brings The Duke home from New York to LA. Easy huh? Not when Alonzo Mosely’s (Kotto) FBI and fellow bounty hunter Marvin Dorfler (Ashton) are after the same piece of pie, not to mention mafia head Jimmy Serrano (Farina).
This is a straight out buddy/road movie, one of the highest order. The interplay and bickering between De Niro and Grodin is hilarious. There are some great stunts and set pieces, with some great gags and physical comedy as well. The film is directed by Martin Brest who previously directed Beverly Hills Cop, and you can almost tell he was riding high from that success.
The film doesn’t let up for a second in either the action or the laugh stakes. This has to be one of De Niro’s best films, full stop I think. De Niro and Grodin are a fantastic double act as they drive, fly, walk and train it across country. Despite the profanity and action scenes, it is one of those old school movies that isn’t ultra violent, bloody or cynical in anyway. It’s just a classic film that still holds up today,
Every actor plays their part superbly, be it John Ashton as the other bounty hunter Marvin, Yaphet Kotto as the increasingly annoyed FBI Agent Alonzo Mosely or Dennis Farina as Jimmy Serrano. They all complement each other brilliantly and I recommend this movie 100%.