Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Only now does it occur to me.... DANGEROUSLY CLOSE

Only now does it occur to me... that Cannon Films––the studio of DEATH WISH 3 and INVASION U.S.A.––was capable of turning out a socially progressive message picture! While BREAKIN' 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO may sort of tackle corrupt real estate developers and BLOODSPORT might address shady Kumite ethics, DANGEROUSLY CLOSE––helmed by Albert Pyun, director of CYBORG, VICIOUS LIPS, and KICKBOXER 2: THE ROAD BACK ––takes a bleak and (mostly) sober look at yuppie vigilantism and institutionalized hate, updated for the '80s.

It's an oddly effective mashup of THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME, FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, WALL STREET, and THE STEPFORD WIVES with a sort of STREETS OF FIRE/music video aesthetic (the smoke machines are working overtime).

It depicts a gang of preppy neo-fascists (called "The Sentinels") who are hell-bent on ridding their Academy of "undesirables,"

whether that means subculturally speaking, or otherwise.

In other words, the lone punk in a sea of preppies should be worried.

It prefigures HEATHERS (with none of the humor) as a cynical high school movie willing to "go there," particularly in depicting its suspicion of authority figures, the horror of school shootings,

 toxic jock culture,

and the American System's segregationalist tendencies.

The best part is that this is all dressed up in a video box that gives top billing to "Featuring Robert Palmer's Grammy Award-Winning Song 'Addicted to Love'!"

[Indeed, the soundtrack is pretty good––featuring music by Depeche Mode, Black Uhuru, Fine Young Cannibals, The Smithereens, and T.S.O.L., among others.] 

I wouldn't call it a masterpiece, but it's more sensible than you'd expect from Pyun, and almost plays like a grim riposte to the optimistic sex comedies, Savage Steve Holland romps, and John Hughes flicks that dominated the '80s teen landscape.


J.D. Lafrance said...

Plus, a very early role for Carey Lowell! Pre-LICENCE TO KILL. Yowza.

Sean Gill said...

I guess if this is dark-side-of-the-mirror John Hughes, then she's Pyun's Molly Ringwald? Ally Sheedy?