After reviving his flagging career with the starring role of street-smart federal agent Vinnie Terranova on TV's acclaimed "Wiseguy" series, Ken Wahl attempts to walk in the footsteps of Bruce Willis in THE TAKING OF BEVERLY HILLS, a pointless actioner about a hi-tech band of corrupt
ex-cops with scores to settle.
Boomer Hayes (Wahl) is comfortably bathing and doesn't hear the loudspeaker voice ordering everyone to evacuate the city. What Boomer is momentarily unaware of is the plot by a gang of cutthroats to capture his home town. These guerrillas have staged a phony toxic-chemical spill as the excuse
needed to convince residents and business owners, especially store owners along the famous Rodeo Drive, to exit the area immediately. Meanwhile, the gang cut all phone lines and bolt the entrance to the police station. If anyone is capable of dealing justice to this motley crew, it is tough,
arrogant Boomer Hayes.
For a time, Boomer is on his own (though he manages to glean some moral support from Laura Sage, his girlfriend, well played by Harley Jane Kozak), but it isn't long before Ed Kelvin (Matt Frewer), one of the gang of corrupt ex-cops who has become disillusioned by the caper, joins forces with
Boomer and together the pair manage to be chased by the villains through much of the rest of the film. Our heroes find themselves up against an armored tank and other devices and are so busy just trying to survive that they're not able to keep the baddies from vandalizing, plundering and
destroying virtually every shop or establishment on Rodeo Drive.
At best, THE TAKING OF BEVERLY HILLS is a fourth-rate DIE HARD, since this badly scripted movie, ineptly directed by veteran Sidney J. Furie (THE IPCRESS FILE, LADY SINGS THE BLUES, IRON EAGLE), not only lacks a coherent story and intelligent dialogue, but the performances, by and large, are
mediocre. Ken Wahl is totally devoid of the sly, good-natured, tongue-in-cheek wit provided by Bruce Willis in the two DIE HARD pictures. Matt Frewer, as the fellow who changes sides to help Wahl, is acutely uncomfortable with his role and comes across as unstable and awkward, rather than in any
way heroic. The key villains--Robert Davi, Lee Ving James and Branscombe Richmond--play their roles in strictly comic-strip fashion--it's as if each man mailed in his performance while vacationing in Palm Springs.
The only thespian displaying anything akin to a decent performance is Harley Jane Kozak (WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, PARENTHOOD), but she has almost nothing to do other than offer encouragement to Wahl and look pretty. Most of the dialogue--when there is dialogue--is either trite or corny or both and
earns laughs in all the wrong places. The majority of the film is taken up by far too many stunts, explosions, tank chases and car crashes. Even Peter Lamont's Rodeo Drive sets are unconvincing; in the sequence where most of these sets are destroyed, they collapse or blow apart more like cardboard
boxes than honest-to-goodness buildings.
One wonders why the filmmakers even commenced principal photography on a project so sadly underwritten and in need of further development. For instance, the Wahl character is supposed to be a pro quarterback, a man fully versed in the science of game-play strategy; and yet, here, he never makes
the slightest attempt to formulate a game plan that might put a stop to these steamroller badmen. (Excessive violence, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1991
- Rating: R
- Review: After reviving his flagging career with the starring role of street-smart federal agent Vinnie Terranova on TV's acclaimed "Wiseguy" series, Ken Wahl attempts to walk in the footsteps of Bruce Willis in THE TAKING OF BEVERLY HILLS, a pointless actioner abo… (more)