Throughout 80’s cinema there was a spike in buddy-cop action comedies, creating an entire sub-genre of movies that defined an era that to this day, is rarely seen matched.
Amongst the juggernaut that was the start of the Lethal Weapon (1987) franchise came Tango & Cash, starring Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell. Upon its release it seemed to get lost amongst the bigger players in the field, but still managed to find an audience nonetheless. Over time however, it’s become somewhat of a cult classic and deservedly so.
Stallone and Russell were an odd pairing at the time, but that seems to be the secret formula to a successful buddy-cop film; but whether it was intentional or not can be up for debate. One of the great things about Tango & Cash is it knows what it wants to be right from the start, with Stallone’s dry delivery of ‘Rambo is a pussy’ getting the one-liner party started – and it only gets better from there.
Whilst the story itself is a recycled blend of cops being framed for a murder they didn’t commit, and thus having to clear their names, the film just wants to entertain with the pacing barely letting up, and Stallone and Russell clearly enjoying themselves as the banter goes back and forth.
One of the many highlights include a prison-break that involves using belt buckles as a means of escape, and a rooftop interrogation with a hand grenade placed in a man’s pants. Yes, it’s that kind of film and is proud of it.
Tango & Cash should satisfy any action buff and is definitely worth revisiting or recommending to a new audience/generation, but what it really should be classified as is pure nostalgia fuel.
Director Andrey Konchalovskiy was replaced towards the end of principal photography by Albert Magnoli. In his book of memoirs, Konchalovsky says that the reason he was fired was because he wanted to give the film a more serious tone than the producers wanted, and as such, his relationship with Producer Jon Peters became untenable. Konchalovsky, however, has nothing but praise for Sylvester Stallone, whom he states was a constant voice of reason on the set.
Tango & Cash is screening as part of the 2017 Russian Resurrection Film Festival across Australia. Click here for more details and tickets.