Here’s a later day Kirk Douglas film that I remember playing at the theater when I was growing up. The other kids in my age bracket were talking about John Schneider in a real big screen movie. I couldn’t have cared less about that. One of my all time favorite screen heroes was back! Kirk Douglas gets top billing here over the Dukes of Hazard star who was trying to make the leap to the big screen with his first leading role in a theatrical release. Schneider is an escaped prisoner on the run who is trying to elude disgraced FBI agent Douglas. Kirk has an old score to settle with Schneider and there is nothing he won’t do to catch his man.
Writer/director Jeff Kanew doesn’t do a bad job overall here and the film movies at a decent pace as we get to the inevitable fireworks between our two leads. Along the way Schneider picks up attractive Lee Purcell who seems only too happy to get John down to Mexico where his wife and son are awaiting him across the border. Douglas is reading the signs and is always one step ahead waiting with cuffs and a shotgun. Kanew puts plenty of flashbacks in the film explaining to us just how John wound up in prison and letting us know that he’s not such a bad guy. To an officer like Douglas, that is of no concern. Kirk’s role is a little bit like Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive in this one. The ending should come as no real surprise but there’s plenty of action down the stretch as we get to it.
Filling out the cast is Tom Noonan and Jay O. Sanders who appear as a couple of rednecks in the only part of the film that I really think should have been reworked a little bit. Also turning up is a young and much lighter John Goodman. Would be country singer John Schneider does a couple songs on the soundtrack for those that followed his chart successes. The director Kanew would go on to direct Kirk and long time partner Burt Lancaster in the 1986 comedy Tough Guys as well as a documentary on Kirk titled Before I Forget in 2009.
Not a bad effort and for the Douglas crowd a rare title you might want to catch up with.