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Title: Midnight Run

Movie: :4stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :4stars:

HTS Overall Score:80

Buddy films have been a staple of the action genre for many years, especially that sort of forced together “we love to hate each other” type of buddy films where the two are basically an action version of “The Odd Couple”. We had Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte in “48 Hours” and “Another 48 Hours”, “Lethal Weapon” with Riggs and Murtaugh, etc etc. Back in 1988 Robert De Niro was considered an A-list movie actor, but he was widely considered a more serious actor. One who wasn’t enamored with the glitz and glamour of action movies or other silly fluff pieces. He had just come off of the high that was “The Untouchables” before he was approached about doing the comedic crime thriller, “Midnight Run”. After “Midnight Run” his stardom really hit new heights as he showed that he could play the popcorn movie game too, as well as play the serious dramatic roles. Now he’s widely considered one of the greatest actors of our generation. Sadly “Midnight Run” is not as highly regarded a film as it should be for being such a seminal turning point in an actor’s career, and it’s been literally 15+ years since I last pulled out my old beat up copy of the disc and gave it a spin. Needless to say it’s still just as fun as it was when I was a teenager and Shout has done a great job with new disc.

Jack Walsh is an ex Chicago cop turned bounty hunter who’s just had the deal of a lifetime. He’s turned in his latest bounty to bail bondsman Eddie Moscone (Joe Pantoliano) and offered $100,000 if he can go out to Chicago and get this white collar criminal who’s hiding out somewhere named Jonathan Mardoukas (Charles Grodin), who just so happened to rip off a mob boss for $15 million and donated the money to charity. Easy job right? Have him back by Friday night at midnight and there’s a cool 100 g’s in his pocket. Well, things are NEVER as easy as they seem. Right off the bat he’s threatened by a pair goons from the mob boss that Jonathan ripped off (actually the same mob boss that drove Jack from Chicago years ago), and the FBI wants Jack to back off and give them first dibs, since Mardoukas has information on said mob boss.

Grabbing Mardoukas is actually the easy part of the job. Now Jack and Mardoukas have to get BACK to Chicago and through the wall of obstacles that life has thrown up in their way. The mob goons are hot on their tail, and every step of the way the pair are hounded by the FBI who is desperate to get Mardoukas first, leaving Jack in the lurch money wise. To make matters worse, Eddie Moscone is getting a bit nervous about Jack getting his bond back in time, so he hires Marvin, a rival bounty hunter, to come in and get the job done for him, crating even MORE people for Jack and a reluctant Mardoukas to dodge on their way back to town. Guns, knives, stupid thugs, frustrated cops, and a wily bounty hunter have one thing in common. They all want Jonathan Mardoukas and Mardoukas wants NONE of them.

“Midnight Run” is a blast from beginning to end, combining chemistry between the two leads and a crazy version of a John Candy comedy together into one film. Writer John Gallo expertly crafts a script that gives us all of the pieces of the game at the beginning of the match, and watches as the players frantically start putting those pieces to good use in an effort to get to the end of the match. Grodin and De Niro just WORK, with Jack being played with De Niro ease as a semi sleazy, semi nice guy who’s just been dealt a bad hand in life. Grodin is both comedic and serious, acting as nerdy as he can be, but holding a few aces up his sleeve at the same time. Making him one of the most entertaining character of the movie.

Most of the movie is based on the road chase, but the comradery between the two leads doesn’t happen till the third act, when some life information is let out into the open and the men have their backs up against the wall. When Jack is fully in control it’s a one way ticket to freedom, but once the two are out of their element TOGETHER, we get to see the men bond over their differences and the actual similarities the two share.


Rated R by the MPAA

Video :4stars:
This is the third film in Shout’s “Shout Select” premium lineup of films, and the movie has been given a brand new 2K scan from the interpositive and the results a VERY nice. I haven’t SEEN the U.K. version of the film that was put out a while ago, but for all intents and purposes it seems to have been taken from an old master with a lot of DNR and smoothing going on. However, this scan looks fantastic, and downright one of the best filmic presentations that Shout has put out in quite some time. The movie is decidedly grainy, but never only so, and the fine detail is excellent. Just look at the stubble on De Niro’s and Grodin’s face while they’re exhausted in the diner (the one where Grodin asks about the Chorizo and eggs). Dirt and grime is apparent on the face, and actually IN BETWEEN the pieces of stubble sometimes I noticed a little bit of black crush in the shadows, and there is a little bit softness here and there, but overall this is a very clean and very filmic presentation for the 88 movie.

Audio :4stars:
Shout has one again given us a 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless track along with a 2.0 DTS-HD MA track as well. Naturally the 5.1 sounds a bit filler and more vibrant, but the 2.0 experience is surprisingly good as well. The 5.1 mix is a little bit front heavy, with a lot more action going on in the front sound stage than the back, but there is some good stringed score work (courtesy of Danny Elfman) as well as the more boisterous moments lighting up the surround channels a bit. There’s actually a surprising amount of LFE in the movie, both in the score as well as during the shootouts and car chases. Dialog is usually good, but I noticed it sounded just a bit harsh on the upper end of the vocal spectrum. Especially when yelling become an issue.

Extras :4stars:

• NEW 2K scan from the interpostive
• NEW Being Jack Walsh - An Interview With Actor Robert De Niro
• We've Got The Duke – An Interview With Actor Charles Grodin
• Moscone Bail Bonds – An Interview With Actor Joe Pantoliano
• Hey Marvin! – An Interview With Actor John Ashton
• I'm Mosely! – An Interview With Actor Yaphet Kotto
• Midnight Writer – An Interview With Writer George Gallo
• Vintage "Making Of" Featurette
• Theatrical Trailer

Overall: :4stars:

“Midnight Run” is one of those hidden gems that has escaped the public eye for far too long. I had LITERALLY almost forgotten about the movie until the press release came across my desk and I remembered just what a joy the buddy comedy was. De Niro was just taking off as a true powerhouse of cinema, and Charles Grodin was still a good solid money maker back then, but combined with a fantastic script and expert directing it’s a film that I’m really glad Shout Factory rescued. The new 2K DI struck for the disc looks great and the 5.1 audio track doesn’t sound any worse for wear either. Shout is known for being one of the few studios to really pack their disc with extras, and the fact that this is the next disc in line for Shout’s premium “Shout Select” line, makes it all the sweeter. Definitely check it out.

Additional Information:

Starring: Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, Yaphet Kotto
Directed by: Martin Brest
Written by: George Gallo
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Studio: Shout Factory
Rated: R
Runtime: 126 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 23rd, 2016

Buy Midnight Run On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Give It A Watch

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