Tango & Cash

(1989) ** 1/2 R
104 min. Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution. Directors: Andrei Konchalovsky, Peter MacDonald. Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Teri Hatcher, Jack Palance, Brion James.

/content/films/3393/1.jpgNewspaper headlines lead into the closing credits of action comedy Tango & Cash, and one of them reads, "Ask not what the critics say." Good advice in this case. A bizarrely appealing movie, Tango & Cash is the essence of camp: it's bad and knows it's bad, so therefore, it's...good? Not quite, but close enough. What truly takes Tango & Cash above the other lousy action flicks  it closely resembles is the man at the helm: esteemed Russian theatre and film director Andrei Konchalovsky, who wasn't too proud to take a break from, say, planning his next opera production in order to put Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell through their buddy-cop paces.

Ray Tango (Stallone) is an L.A. narcotics cop who cultivates a refined image when not blasting away with his service revolver ("He thinks he's Rambo," says one observer. "Rambo is a pussy," Tango replies). He's also a stock trader in it for "the action," as opposed to his crosstown equivalent Gabriel Cash (Russell), who's "goin' steady with an alimony check." Because of Tango's penchant for perfectly fitted suits, Cash (Russell) calls him "Armani with a badge"—Cash is the sloppy Oscar Madison to Tango's tightly wound Felix Unger. Yeah, that combo never gets old. The bane of Tango and Cash is a well-insulated mob boss named Yves Perrett (Jack Palance), who tells his Chinese partner (genre vet James Hong), "If it isn't Tango, it's Cash. Tango and Cash! Cash and Tango! These two cops are driving me crazy!" Ahhh, that's good action movie.

Indeed, Tango & Cash has everything you expect in an '80s action movie: beside the oil-and-water "buddy" cops, you get over-the-top violence, a synth score by Harold Faltermeyer, and Brion James (Blade Runner) as a henchman. It's comic-book entertainment that's preposterous at every turn, including a mid-picture imprisonment and jail break for the heroes. Stallone is droll, and Russell gives another enjoyable high-energy performance, and they have plenty of dumb-fun banter. Tango tells Cash, "I hear you're the second best cop in L.A." Cash replies, "That's funny; I hear the same thing about you." Pure gold. And how can you resist a movie with supporting roles for Michael J. Pollard (Bonnie and Clyde) and Robert Z'Dar of Maniac Cop, as a brute appropriately dubbed "Face." Oh, and did I mention Teri Hatcher as the woman Tango and Cash tangle over? C'mon, you know you want a sequel to this one.

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Aspect ratios: 2.4:1

Number of discs: 1

Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1

Street date: 4/7/2009

Distributor: Warner Home Video

Tango & Cash makes its Blu-ray debut in a nice-priced release from Warner. Other than mild horizontal wobble, the picture is awfully good, perfectly capturing the film's theatrical look with strong detail and accurate color and contrast. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound options are as good as they're likely to get, which is pretty good, though the sound mix is dated by its front-heavy positioning.

The all-but-featureless disc offers only the "Theatrical Trailer" (1:22, SD) to complement the film, but check it out, as it includes tiny snippets of deleted scenes.

Review gear:
Panasonic Viera TC-P55VT30 55" Plasma 1080p 3D HDTV
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Network 3D Blu-ray Disc Player
Denon AVR2112CI Integrated Network A/V Surround Receiver
Pioneer SP-BS41-LR Bookshelf Speaker (2)
Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker
Pioneer SW-8 Subwoofer

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