As long as actors like Gene Hackman can haul themselves around atop moving trains without looking silly, there will be meat-and-potatoes thrillers like this one for them to star in. NARROW MARGIN delivers solid entertainment with an old-fashioned feel for cliff-hanging adventure.
Hackman stars as Los Angles Deputy DA Robert Caulfield, who would like nothing more than to put white-collar gangster Leo Watts (Harris Yulin) away for a long, long time. But Caulfield is convinced that his past efforts have been sabotaged by his boss, Martin Larner (J.A. Preston). Determined to
have nothing go wrong this time, Caulfield himself takes charge of bringing in an eyewitness to a recent murder committed by Watts. The witness, Carol Hunnicut (Anne Archer), is hiding out in a cabin, deep in the Canadian wilderness, until things cool down. With the help of police Sgt. Dominick
Benti (M. Emmet Walsh), however, Caulfield tracks Hunnicut down; unfortunately, the bad guys also find her and shoot the cabin to bits, leaving Caulfield and Hunnicut unscathed but costing Benti his life. After a chase, Hunnicut and Caulfield manage to board a train, followed by hired killer
Nelson (Sikking). A game of cat-and-mouse ensues aboard the train; the crackerjack finale takes place on top of the train with the principal actors trying hard not to look terrified.
To his credit, writer-cinematographer-director Peter Hyams (RUNNING SCARED) doesn't pretend he's reinventing the wheel here--he just sees to it that all the pieces are in place and that there aren't too many opportunities for the premise to trip over its own implausibilities. With a relatively
low body count, a shortage of gore, and not even a single acrobatic sex scene, NARROW MARGIN relies on old-fashioned movie virtues, which makes sense since it's a remake of a 1952 film of the same name.
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- Released: 1990
- Rating: R
- Review: As long as actors like Gene Hackman can haul themselves around atop moving trains without looking silly, there will be meat-and-potatoes thrillers like this one for them to star in. NARROW MARGIN delivers solid entertainment with an old-fashioned feel for… (more)