Fish-Flavored Baseball Bat

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

VHS Vednesday: Dangerously Close

DANGEROUSLY CLOSE (1986). Directed by Albert Pyun. Starring John Stockwell, Carey Lowell, and J. Eddie Peck.

It's generally not a good sign when the video box (or, as in the above image, the poster) is more enthusiastic about the soundtrack than the movie itself. In the case of Dangerously Close, that warning sign is fully justified.
In Vista Verde High School, the line is clearly drawn between the elite students of privilege and the lowlife "commoners" (i.e., everybody else). And just to make sure everyone knows where they stand, The Sentinels are there to put people in their place. Ostensibly a glorified hall-monitor organization to keep order in the school building, the Sentinels, led by Randy McDevitt (John Stockwell) naturally have a more sinister side. At night, they organize "hunts" to terrorize those they deem the most undesirable (stoners, graffiti artists, etc.), tracking them down with paint-guns (and the standard "next time it'll be real" warning) to pressure them into dropping out or transferring. (Astoundingly, it works every time...I know that wealth has its privileges, but surely SOMEBODY out of all their victims would report them.) Predictably, the hunt eventually goes too far...
Directed by Albert Pyun (of the notorious 1990 Matt Salinger Captain America and other infamously bad movies), Dangerously Close is one of his better movies (for what that's worth). He crafts a number of effective action sequences, though he's at a loss when it comes to the scenes that involve actual human interaction (i.e., the romance between reluctant hero J. Eddie Peck and idealistic "nice girl" Carey Lowell).
And the soundtrack is pretty cool, featuring a number of '80s hits (Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love," the Smithereens' "Blood and Roses," and tunes by Fine Young Cannibals, Depeche Mode, etc.). I imagine most of Cannon's budget went towards the music rights...
Who's Leaving This Off Their Resume?
Carey Lowell, making an unimpressive film debut, went on to bigger and better things (Licence to Kill, Law & Order) within a few years, and would no doubt prefer that this and her other Cannon/Pyun production (Down Twisted) be forgotten. Others who would probably like to sweep this under the rug: Gerard Christopher (TV's Superboy), Dedee Pfeiffer (of the TV series Cybill and For Your Love, though she may always be best known as Michelle's sister), and Miguel A. Nunez Jr. (Juwanna Mann).



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