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Double Take Reviews

Talk about high hopes: Back in the '80s, writer-turned-director George Gallo wrote MIDNIGHT RUN, one of the best action comedies ever made. Alas, this film (a very loose remake of an old, dramatic Rod Steiger vehicle called ACROSS THE BRIDGE) isn't nearly as funny or emotionally resonant. But it is a generally diverting, urban update of a formula familiar from movies that range from NORTH BY NORTHWEST to SILVER STREAK, with star-making performances from Orlando Jones and Eddie Griffin. The set-up is classic: Yuppie investment banker Daryl Chase (Jones) is framed for murder and finds himself on the run from both the FBI and a Mexican drug cartel whose money he's inadvertently laundered. In desperation, he switches identities with low-life, petty thief Freddy Tiffany (Griffin, of TV's Malcolm & Eddie) only to discover that Tiffany is even higher on the list of wanted criminals than he is. Once the switch is accomplished, the film is one long, frenetic melange of plot twists (no one is who he seems to be), shoot outs, and comic set pieces, the most hilarious of which involves Jones and a very annoying little dog crossing the Rio Grande to Mexico as various illegals heading in the opposite direction look on in bewilderment. The script is rather too densely plotted: There's so much going on it's hard to keep track, and after a while you may be tempted to give up. And there are probably a million gaping holes, but Gallo keeps things moving so fast that it's hard to tell on first viewing. In any case, Griffin and Jones are an absolute hoot together, and film noir fans will definitely appreciate some of Gallo's throwaway touches, including two scenes shot on the same street Orson Welles used for the opening of TOUCH OF EVIL.