A mild throwback to the blaxploitation films of the early 1970s, STREET HUNTER boasts the commanding presence of martial arts specialist Steve James (I'M GONNA GET YOU SUCKA, the AMERICAN NINJA series), showcased as Logan Blade, a Viet Nam vet-turned-supercop whose unorthodox methods got
him bounced from the New York City police force.
Now the best-dressed bounty hunter in the Big Apple, Blade secretly collaborates with his friends in the NYPD at fighting crime. His current target: the ironically named Angel (John Leguizamo), a greasy little punk with dreams of uniting the city's squabbling street gangs into "a serious death
force." Blade collars Angel, but the creep soon busts out of jail thanks to his own personal rogue Vietnam vet, mercenary Marine Colonel Walsh (Reb Brown). The power-hungry Walsh is, of course, the real brains behind Angel's ambition, and Blade's pursuit leads to the inevitable showdown between
the two urban commandos.
Though STREET HUNTER unreels with a minimum of surprises, the zen villain Walsh does make a change of pace from typical B-movie action fare, in which the filmmakers paint the heavy as the sickest, beastliest thing on two legs. Here that doubtful honor falls to Leguizamo (HANGIN' WITH THE
HOMEBOYS, REGARDING HENRY), whose characterization was allegedly inspired by James Cagney. The unflappable Walsh, portrayed by hunky blond Reb Brown (YOR, UNCOMMON VALOR) speaks softly and carries a big AK-47, spouting Nietzschean philosophy and comparing himself to Alexander the Great and Genghis
Khan, thus bewildering his platoon of uncomprehending ghetto toughs, who have heard of neither. He's a suitable match for gentlemanly one-man-army Logan Blade, but the plot moves languidly to the final battle in an abandoned church.
Director and co-screenwriter John A. Gallagher dwells too much on familiar exposition, introducing the whole lineup--good cops, bad cops, ethnic stereotypes, the hero's wonder dog, the hero's kidnap-prone girlfriend, anti-drug platitudes--as though this picture was inventing the genre, not merely
rehashing it for the umpteenth time. It may be relevant that in addition to his film and TV ventures, Gallagher earned his stripes as a serious film scholar, founder of the cinema journal Grand Illusion and the author of Film Directors on Directing. He cited John Ford and William Wellman as
influences in the making of STREET HUNTER. While Gallagher shouldn't be penalized for pouring his studies into silly action filler, his self-reverence weighs heavy--sort of like a cap and gown on a kung-fu kickfighter. No one could ever confuse STREET HUNTER with, say, THE SEARCHERS, and a
lighter, less self-conscious touch would have suited it better. (Violence, profanity, sexual situations, nudity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1991
- Rating: R
- Review: A mild throwback to the blaxploitation films of the early 1970s, STREET HUNTER boasts the commanding presence of martial arts specialist Steve James (I'M GONNA GET YOU SUCKA, the AMERICAN NINJA series), showcased as Logan Blade, a Viet Nam vet-turned-super… (more)