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Tango and Cash (1989)

TANGO & CASH, Jack Palance, 1989, © Warner Brothers

“If it isn’t Tango, it’s Cash. Tango and Cash. Cash and Tango. These two cops are driving me crazy.” Now that you’ve read that line, close your eyes and repeat it one more time conjuring up the whispering tones of the man who delivered it, Jack Palance.

While this buddy-buddy cop flick may not get any better as the years go by, it definitely gets more enjoyable with every viewing.

Tango-and-Cash

Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell team up for this hilarious display of macho intensity and one liners aimed at Palance and his army of hoodlums. Stallone is the Felix Unger of the two. Dressed in Armani suits and an avid player of the stock market, he’s all class with a gun.

Kurt Russell takes up the Oscar Madison side of this pairing. He’s not overly concerned of his wardrobe and loves being the “jock” around the police station. Violence and guns just come natural to him. He seems to think his job is akin to working at an amusement park.

Like the majority of genre flicks featuring a pair of crime fighters carrying a badge, these two don’t exactly like each other. Both believing that they themselves and only themselves are the cities top cop.

tango_and_cash2

Coming as close as he ever did to portraying a Bond villain, Palance wants an end put to the two of them. They continually foul up his drug trafficking business making him look bad in the eyes of his partners like James Hong. He comes up with a fool proof plan to incriminate the two of them sending them to prison and certain death.

The duo quickly realize that they are going to have to rely on each other to survive the likes of baddies, Robert Z’Dar and a colorful Brion James. Prison life isn’t exactly agreeing with them when a good majority of the inmates were put there by our two super cops.

This is really one of those slam bang action flicks that works, Mainly due to the banter and endless attempts to look better then the other by Sly and Kurt. Insults fly, gun size comparisons and Teri Hatcher only add to the competitiveness and overall fun that our two stars bring to the screen. She’s Sly’s drop dead gorgeous sister that takes a liking to Kurt who quite naturally welcomes the attention. Big brother Sly isn’t overly impressed.

teri hatcher

Over the top action was and still is a staple of the genre and when the duo get their hands on a custom crime fighting truck from Michael J. Pollard, they head right to the heart of Palance’s operation to take out all comers.

Not only are Sly and Kurt well cast here but they have been surrounded by a solid roster in support. Palance has always been one of the best baddies throughout his tenure in Hollywood from Shane in 1952 forward. James Hong is always a welcome addition to any film as is an unbilled Geoffrey Lewis as Sly’s and Kurt’s police chief.

geoffrey lewis tango and cash

The late Lewis has long been one of my favorite character players from the 1970’s and 80’s. You’ll also recognize a truly weird Clint Howard as Stallone’s cellmate.

So even though the opening action sequence featuring Sly is lifted from a Jackie Chan flick, who cares. This is just a fun ride that caters to the action fan who grew up during Tango and Cash’s theater run.

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