Remember when Robert De Niro made great films? I’m talking about classics like Taxi Driver and Casino. Nowadays, he shows up disinterested in such disasters like Stardust and Dirty Grandpa. Whatever happens to some actors? Should we place the blame on the actors or the directors and writers? I think it’s a little bit of both to be perfectly honest. For example, the movie in question today, Midnight Run, could have been terrible if it had the wrong director and writer. Thankfully, Martin Brest (Beverly Hills Cop) was the right director for the job and writer George Gallo’s script was top notch. A well-written script is easier for actors to get into the role.
RUN-TIME: 127 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
PRODUCTION DATE: 1988
RELEASE DATE: August 23, 2016
Jack Walsh (Robert De Niro) is a tough ex-cop turned bounty hunter. Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas (Charles Grodin) is a sensitive accountant who embezzled $15 million from the Mob, gave it to charity and then jumped bail. Jack’s in for a cool $100,000 if he can deliver The Duke from New York to L.A. on time…and alive. Sounds like just another Midnight Run (a piece of cake in bounty hunter slang), but it turns into a cross-country chase. The FBI is after The Duke to testify. The Mob is after him for revenge and Walsh is after him to just shut up. If someone else doesn’t do the job, the two unlikely partners may end up killing each other in this hilarious, action-filled ride from producer-director Martin Brest (Beverly Hills Cop).
Midnight Run, which is a slang term for an easy bounty job (so says the back cover), has Robert De Niro playing a bounty hunter named Jack Walsh. Walsh’s job is to bring in white collar criminal Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas (Charles Grodin, who would go on to star in Beethoven). The Duke embezzled $15 million from crime boss Jimmy Serrano (Dennis Farina) and gave most it away to charity.
The Duke skipped out on his bail, though, and bail bondsman Eddie Moscone (Joe Pantoliano) is going to be out $450,000 if The Duke isn’t brought back by Friday at midnight. Jack Walsh swears that he will get him back in time, but Walsh isn’t aware that not only is the mob after The Duke, but the FBI (led by Yaphet Kotto) is also seeking him out to bring him in to testify against Jimmy. If those two problems weren’t enough, Walsh has to deal with fellow bounty hunter Marvin Dorfler (John Ashton-Beverly Hills Cop) trying to bring in The Duke for the money. It’s a race against the clock, the mob, the FBI, bounty hunters and the urge for Jack to not slap The Duke across the face as he babbles on and on. Will he make it or will he end up throwing The Duke head first into a swamp?
Midnight Run has all the right ingredients for a perfect action comedy. Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin bounce off each other wonderfully, with a lot of lines supposedly ad-libbed. Their relationship seems real, which brings the film up above other similar movies.
Midnight Run has a solid script, numerous filming locations and it doesn’t mind being an R rated movie that loves to throw around the F word. Boy, do I miss the days of R-rated action movies (I’m looking at you Live Free or Die Hard).
The only issue that rears its ugly head is the padding of time. Clocking in at a whopping 127 minutes, Midnight Run could have easily been a perfect 90-minute flick with a little bit of trimming. Because of the length, the film has a tendency to drag in a few places. However, in no way does that mean the movie isn’t good, but just a bit long in the tooth.
One thing I do recommend while watching Midnight Run is playing a drinking game. Every time you see someone smoking, you take a shot. Fair warning, you’ll probably have alcohol poisoning 10-minutes in. The ‘80’s were a smoky time.
Shout! Factory has a new line of Blu-rays coming out under the label of Shout Selects, which shines a light on films that deserve a spot on your shelf. Coming in at number 3 is Midnight Run. Shout! Factory has presented Midnight Run with a new 2K scan, and the results are fantastic. There is a healthy amount of grain present, but as you may already know, I’m a film grain fan, so I’m very pleased with the retained quality of how it looked back in the day. The colours are also even throughout.
Audio comes in two flavours: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. I listened to the movie in 5.1. There was only one noticeable moment where the audio levels peaked and caused a bit of a hiss. That only happened once for me, and everything else was fine.
Special Features are a bit of a hit or miss when it comes to what is new and what is old. The new parts are a super brief interview with Robert De Niro, which runs 8 minutes long. The actual interview is probably at most a minute long and the rest is clips from the movie, with someone else speaking over them. Robert De Niro could barely remember much about the film and to be honest, it looks like he didn’t want to be there.
The rest of the interviews are from 2014 by Severin Films. You have interviews with Charles Grodin, Joe Pantoliano, John Ashton, Yaphet Kotto and George Gallo. They run from anywhere from 8 minutes to 24 minutes. Also provided is an 8-minute vintage “Making Of” that provides a fun look at some ‘80s interviews. Rounding everything out is a trailer. No commentary this time around.
- NEW 2K Scan From The Interpostive
- Being Jack Walsh – An Interview With Actor Robert De Niro
- We’ve Got The Duke – An Interview With Actor Charles Grodin
- Moscone Bail Bonds – An Interview With Actor Joe Pantoliano
- Hey Marvin! – An Interview With Actor John Ashton
- I’m Mosely! – An Interview With Actor Yaphet Kotto
- Midnight Writer – An Interview With Writer George Gallo
- Vintage “Making Of” Featurette
- Theatrical Trailer
Midnight Run is a classic action/comedy/buddy film that beams with exceptional acting, laughs and adventure. It runs a bit too long. However, the overall experience ends up being well rounded. Shout! Factory has provided a solid release that any fan will love to have in their collection.