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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.88%
Worth A Look: 5.88%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap88.24%

2 reviews, 5 user ratings

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Good Guys Wear Black
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by Jack Sommersby

"Hardly Anything 'Good' About It"
1 stars

Yawn-inducing to the nth degree.

In 1944 the actor Dana Andrews gave a commanding lead performance as a determined police detective in the classic film-noir Laura, and thirty-four years later in the lackluster Chuck Norris action picture Good Guys Wear Black he has only one single scene but it's far and away the best part about it. Playing a disgruntled, conscience-plagued Washington D C. politician residing in a posh apartment in the notorious Watergate Hotel, he has a long, rambling drunken monologue in which he divulges his guilty knowledge of a clandestine operation during the Vietnam War to Norris's former CIA colonel John T. Booker as to why the five remaining survivors of his failed mission to purportedly rescue American POWs are being systematically knocked off. (The film takes its title from the CIA-sanctioned assassination organization Black Tigers Booker was part of.) Taking his time and feeling through every one of his lines Andrews suggests the kind of world-weariness a lifetime of political deceit can do to one's sense of morality - his soul has been blackened out, and he tries to alleviate it with generous shot-glasses of whiskey, which still won't do the job because he's a generally decent human being. But it was his character's inebriated state that caused him to blab his mouth to a D.C. lawyer at a run-of-the-mill cocktail party about this operational mess, with Booker trying to save the lives of his remaining unit but running up against a gang of well-financed assassins. (It turns out Booker and his men were set up and sacrificed by a conniving U.S. diplomat so as to broker a landmark peace treaty in 1973 with the Vietcong so as to cement his status as an ace international broker who's now going through Senate confirmation hearings to be the next Secretary of State.) Unfortunately, the movie is disappointingly inept from start to finish, both contextually and stylistically. It's never clear why Booker, now a racecar driver and college professor, hasn't already been toe-tagged given his vulnerability before being aware of the danger he's in, or why his wartime buddies are killed in public places when surely it would've been easier and less conspicuous to have done them in inside their private residences. And not helping matters is the poor directing by Ted Post, who five years prior helmed the excellent Dirty Harry sequel Magnum Force but who displays just about zero ability here. The action sequences are inadequately staged, and Post can't get anything resembling genuine momentum going - the movie has all the immediacy of an ice floe, with the scene transitions direly lagging behind practically every step of the way. As for Norris, he's generally agreeable, but I found him more appealing in his starring debut one year prior in the enjoyably ramshackle Breaker! Breaker! There was potential to be had here, and though Good Guys Wear Black hasn't near the tautness and atmosphere of the similar, much-superior The Parallax View it could've succeeded had the moviemakers simply kept sight of the basics. As it stands the proceedings are embarrassingly futile, so it's so refreshing when a stalwart like Andrews is given the chance to strut his considerable stuff. He singlehandedly turns the movie on its head and lends it a rooted vitality that leaves everything else in the absolute dust.

Not even remotely recommendable.

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originally posted: 11/13/20 13:10:48
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User Comments

11/18/11 matthew thompson dalldorf Underrated political thriller 4 stars
6/10/06 JM Synth INCREDIBLY Poorly made and boring film, or at least what I could stand was (about 40 mins) 1 stars
4/28/06 Sugarfoot Good actors also don't star in this crap. 1 stars
10/26/05 Robbie best movie ever. 5 stars
6/22/03 Jack Sommersby Poorly made and directed. One of Norris' most amateurish efforts. 1 stars
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  02-Jun-1978 (PG)



Directed by
  Ted Post

Written by
  Bruce Cohn
  Mark Medoff
  Joseph Fraley

  Chuck Norris
  Anne Archer
  James Franciscus
  Lloyd Haynes
  Dana Andrews

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