Thursday, January 26, 2017

Only now does it occur to me... THE PRESIDIO

Only now does it occur to me...  that THE PRESIDIO is kind of a watered-down San Francisco buddy-cop/corrupt military investigation flick that is chiefly concerned with Meg Ryan/Mark Harmon fireside romance:

the hilarious daddy/daughter relationship between Meg Ryan and her red-blooded, football-and-Coors-loving American Army Colonel father, Sean Connery (!), who just happens to have a Scottish accent:
Daddy, you can't tell me not to date Mark Harmon

Yesh, I can...I've sheen SCHUMMER SCHOOL

and somehow portraying Mark Harmon as a Jean-Pierre Melville-style blasé badass.

Lookin' schnazzy in that High School letter jacket, bub

None of this is working in the least. The film's high-water mark is surely an all-too-brief sequence where a local meathead

decides to pick on Sean Connery at a seafood pub, which begins a (raw)bar-room brawl, ending with said meathead getting a faceful o' oysters!

Unused Connery one-liners: "I've got othah schellfish to fry!","Thish wohrld ish definitely not your oyschter, boy!"

After highlighting THE PRESIDIO's only praiseworthy moment, I must also point out its greatest crime: the complete and utter misuse of the brilliant character actress Jeanette "Vasquez from ALIENS" Goldstein,

who––though she is playing an MP and not a Space Marine––

certainly could have been given the opportunity for either character development or badassery, but in fact is given neither, 

shot dead a mere six minutes into the movie. I expected better from you, THE PRESIDIO. At least there's always THE ROCK when I need to scratch that "Sean Connery-in-San Francisco" itch.


Cannon said...

Well this is an easy one to explain. The problem with The Presidio is twofold, both begging with the letter 'H'.

Harmon and Hyams.

Harmon has always come off equal parts smug and bored, altogether about as charismatic as dishwater. It's like, "Sorry, you're too goddamn short to take up precious screentime -- opposite 007 and an eager-to-please Ryan, no less -- with such an air of conceited disinterest."

And my lasting issue with Hyams is not necessarily that he fails to make great genre films where there should be, but that he can never manage memorably entertaining schlock in its place. On the latter, he's only ever sometimes sorta gotten there, fleetingly, but only to lose it with a plaguing nondescript filmmaking sensibility that seems utterly devoid of, not only audacious flare, but even a healthy sense of humor or mischief. From about the same time, look at what Scott was doing with Black Rain, Brest with Midnight Run or, hell, even Craig R. Baxley with Action Jackson.

This movie could've benefited greatly with just any one of those lit fires.

Sean Gill said...


As always, very well put. I fail to understand Harmon's continued employment, though I see most of his contemporary work has been in over 300 episodes of NCIS, so I guess he's got a good "I'm dead wood but you can't fire me because I'm popular with CBS-watching senior citizens" thing going.

I do think that Hyams manages memorably entertaining schlock with TIMECOP at least, though whether or not he is personally responsible for JCVD's famous electrocution-avoiding "kitchen split" is certainly going to be up for debate (in a forthcoming issue of Cahiers du Cinéma?). Also, kudos for putting ACTION JACKSON up there.

J.D. Lafrance said...

I think we can all thank NCIS for firmly entrenching Harmon in the cozy confines of network TV far from soiling the big screen. He had his shot in the mid to late '80s and we all know how that went (full disclosure: STEALING HOME is a guilty pleasure). I think his brand of charisma works best on the small screen and he realized that awhile ago.

Sean Gill said...


Heh, indeed! And I've never seen STEALING HOME––is it in the 'this looks like a Hallmark movie, but it's actually good'/"UNTAMED HEART" sort of mold?