The Presidio (1988)

Movie Title: The Presidio

Year Released: 1988

Rated: R

Runtime: 1h 37min

Genre: Action, Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Director: Peter Hyams

Writer: Larry Ferguson

Starring: Sean Connery, Mark Harmon, Meg Ryan, Jack Warden, Mark Blum, Dana Gladstone, Jenette Goldstein, Marvin J. McIntyre, Don Calfa, John DiSanti, Robert Lesser, Larry Flash Jenkins, Patrick Kilpatrick

Review: When a soldier is murdered at The Presidio military compound a San Francisco police inspector (Mark Harmon) is forced to work his former commanding officer (Sean Connery) to figure out who pulled the trigger. Can they solve the case before they kill each other? Maybe not once the C.O. discovers the copper is dating his daughter (Meg Ryan).

The Presidio is kind of a forgotten late-'80s buddy-cop movie, and for good reason. It's a bland, by-the-numbers thriller that's slow, lazy, and doesn't have any surprises. I blame the screenplay. It seems like screenwriter Larry Ferguson just lifted ideas and cliches from other, better movies that came before.

Another problem is that the characters aren't very interesting. Jay Austin (Mark Harmon) seems like watered-down version of Mel Gibson's Martin Riggs from Lethal Weapon. He's tough cop with a short fuse, and rather boring to watch. He doesn't have much to do except flirt with Meg Ryan's character and fight with Connery's - and even that's boring. Meg Ryan's character isn't really even a character. She's more or less there to create more friction between or leads. Ryan's a good actress, it's a shame she's wasted here. Sean Connery does what he can with the role of Lt. Col. Caldwell. Connery is endlessly watchable, even in this misfire. And when he gives a eulogy in one of the last scenes of this movie he is amazing. A good scene in an otherwise bad movie. And the biggest crime is wasting the talents of Jack Warden. That's something you just don't do.

I also felt that a lot of the scenes kept the characters far away from the audience. Not many closeups so not a lot of connecting with our characters. Such a shame.

As a fan of director Peter Hyams (Outland, Running Scared) I really wanted to like The Presidio, but felt that his heart really wasn't in it. I guess if you're a fan of Sean Connery or of lesser '80s action-thrillers then it's time to visit The Presidio.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: Tony Scott was originally set to direct before he was replaced with Peter Hyams.


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