Interesting little crime movie that spotlights Florida's greasetrap nature. It's fun to watch Fred Ward and Alec Baldwin shamble through a series of dirtbag misadventures, though I think the latter actor is a bit miscast. Younger Baldwin's performances always had the watermark of a man who wanted gravitas he hadn't yet earned, and this is no exception, but by no means is he bad or does he sink the film.
A little post-film research revealed that the author of the source material is credited with sparking interest in Miami as an ideal setting for crime fiction, which explains a lot.
I like most of Walter Hill's films quite a bit, but this is just a creative debacle.
This is obvious from the start courtesy of the aesthetics, which are wildly out of place in such a film. A litany of extreme close-ups do disservice to the Western genre, known for its captivating landscapes, although perhaps some of that was to hide the jarringly stagey quality of the sets. And then there's Hill's experiment with handheld black-and-white photography for the flashback…
Myopic fanboys largely just complained that this didn't have enough profanity, but as an exciting look at another bad day for Willis' John McClane, this does the trick. Wiseman's competent handling of action scenes is bolstered by Willis' enthusiastic performance, while the pacing makes it feel leaner than it actually is. Serious foul with the fighter jet/semi-truck battle, though, a scene so stupid and unnecessary that it nearly wrecks the climax.
Kurt Russell always sat on the periphery of the A-list, a charming lead, convincing macho man, and fine actor, a household name yet never the sort of star who put asses in the seats by his name alone. This movie features perhaps his defining performance as Snake Plissken, a gunfighter whose ruthlessness is weighted by a conscience, a dry joker who cares for the decent people who cross his path and yet is content to watch the whole world come crashing down. People are worth saving, humanity isn't, every good anti-hero knows. Expect this role at the top of Russell's obituary, and with good reason.