Review by Gordon Justesen
Gene Hackman, Matt Dillon, Gayle Hunnicutt, Randy Moore
Director: Arthur Penn
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround, French Dolby Mono
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 117 Minutes
Release Date: June 14, 2005
Target is one of those films that runs completely by-the-numbers, no matter
how many times the plot has been done before and after this movieís 1985
release. What Iím surprised to discover is that many numerous films after this
film have accomplished the given task a whole lot better. Despite the strength
of the lead actors, the result is a pretty flat thriller.
The movie involves
a mild mannered businessman named Walter Lloyd (Gene Hackman), whose
relationship with his son, Chris (Matt Dillon), is a bit less than
communicative. Walterís wife, Donna (Gayle Hunnicutt), is taking a trip to
Paris, leaving Walter and his son to enjoy a little male bonding. But then
Walter gets a crucial phone call, and everything changes.
Receiving word that
his wife has been kidnapped, Walter wastes no time in getting over to Paris to
track down his wifeís kidnappers. The only catch is, Chris will have to tag
along for the ride, resulting in the rarest form of father and son bonding
experience. Added to this, Walter will have to explain to Chris his true
identity; that of a CIA agent, which possibly serves as the reason for his
What follows is a
most slowly paced, not very gripping, action drama held together by several
chase sequences that donít really gather too much excitement. Throughout most
of this movie, I was reminded of John Frankenheimerís 1998 film, Ronin,
a movie that involved many car chases throughout Europe. The plot was more
effective, the action way more invigorating, and unlike this film, you
couldnít wait for what happened next.
Being that this
reunited Gene Hackman with director Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde, Night Moves, Little Big Man), oneís expectations
couldnít be anything but high. Hackman, and Matt Dillon, who at that point was
one of the more popular young actors of the time, do have some nice chemistry in
some scenes, as they are the only two on screen for most of the movie. But it
isnít enough to generate any juice in this tiresome action thriller.
To succinctly put
it, Target misses the targetÖand
Perhaps the main
reason I wasnít able to get very engaged in this movie was the dreadful video
job. Paramount has released the movie, through their CBS DVD outlet, and the
result was a presentation that wasnít double checked before production was
complete. This is the first movie on DVD Iíve seen that seems to have been
completely converted from a VHS copy, judging from the quality of the print. If
you doubt what Iím saying, the black ďburnsĒ that occur prior to a reel
change even appear periodically in the top right hand corner of the screen.
Easily one of the lesser video qualities Iíve ever seen.
presence of a 5.1 mix, this twenty year old flick canít seem to get juiced up
as it should. A lot of the action is confined to the front area, which for an
action flick, isnít saying too much. Dialogue delivery is as good as it can
get, but again, itís the bland quality of the overall print that causes this
sound format to lack any real bite.