Little Nikita (1988)
For the second consecutive film of his return to the big screen after an eleven year absence Sidney Poitier again stars as an F.B.I. agent. Unlike Shoot to Kill where he is after a single madman, this time he is firmly entrenched in the world of espionage and deep cover Russian agents. Think Telefon for the younger crowd. For this effort Sidney is joined by rising star of the day River Phoenix.
When two plot line cross paths, Poitier springs to action. For starters a renegade KGB agent is loose in the United States and is taking out deep cover agents in order to extricate money from his superiors. They promptly send in Richard Bradford to take him out. The renegade killer is played by a face one is not likely to forget, Richard Lynch.
Lynch was of course responsible for killing Poitier’s partner years ago and this is Sid’s chance at revenge. At the same time Sidney is looking into an application for service from young River Phoenix. What do you think the chances are that Phoenix’s parents are some of those long undercover Russian agents that Lynch is looking to take out. Only in the movies!
While this film is passable because of the actors which includes the always watchable Richard Jenkins as River’s father it has a total air of unbelievability to it. Part of the problem is there are way too many “light” moments in it that don’t blend well with the killing and subject matter of Lynch and Bradford as threatening Russian agents. Since the film was directed by light comedy actor Richard Benjamin I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise. To me, Benjamin has had mixed results over the years behind the camera with films ranging from the solid My Favorite Year to the excess of City Heat.
If I recall correctly this film wound up as what was becoming known as a “straight to video” release and never really had a theatrical run. Truthfully it’s not hard to see why. Stick around to the end and see how easy it is to have a shoot out on a bridge to Mexico that no one seems to take notice of. Not the public or the border guards!!!! Incredible to say the least. At the end of the day this is pretty much for Poitier fans and the Phoenix cult.
Check out yesterday’s offering Shoot to Kill for the better effort from Sidney’s return year.