Action Movie Review: "To Live and Die in L.A."

    Oh my god…this movie was terrific.  Out of all the action movies I’ve reviewed since starting this, “To Live and Die in L.A.” was the most fun to watch.  Let’s take a look at the basic plot of the film:

Richard Chance and Jimmy Hart are United States Secret Service agents assigned as counterfeiting investigators in its Los Angeles field office. Chance has a reputation for reckless behavior, while Hart is three days away from retirement. Alone, Hart stakes out a warehouse in the desert thought to be a print house of counterfeiter Rick Masters. When Masters and his bodyguard kill Hart, Chance explains to his new partner, John Vukovich, that he will take Masters down no matter what.

I did some further reading about the movie before watching it only because the trailer looked so incredibly terrible.  While looking through numerous websites, I found this review for the movie:

“William Friedkin briefly revived his faltering career with this sleek, bleak thriller of a pair of secret service agents on the trail of a counterfeiter. William L. Peterson is the hotshot protégé of a career agent killed by the ruthless, almost feral counterfeiting genius Willem Dafoe (Platoon). Now Petersen, teamed with the smart but still green John Pankow (TV’s Mad About You), is ready to twist arms, lean on criminals, steal, and even murder to exact his revenge. The harrowing chase through the streets of Los Angeles that climaxes on the freeway at rush hour, where Friedkin’s brilliant twist sends them heading the wrong way, careening through a sea of cars coming straight at them, is still one of the most breathtaking car chases ever filmed. Friedkin’s edgy crime thriller, stylishly shot in steely blues against hazy red and orange skies by Robby Muller (Paris, Texas), paints a very thin line between the good guys and the bad guys, and Wang Chung’s techno soundtrack sets the proper mood–jumpy and alienated. It’s a cynical and very brutal look into the world of law enforcement (adapted by Friedkin and former Secret Service man Gerald Petievich from his novel) and a cold portrayal of the power games between cops and feds, and cops and informants. John Turturro, Dean Stockwell, and Robert Downey Sr. are featured in supporting roles. –Sean Axmaker”

Why did I post this review?  Because it makes this movie even better.  This movie was absolutely horrendous yet 100% amazing!  William Defoe plays the lead villain and is great.  Here are a few notes that I took while watching this thing:

  • The actor that plays the heroic cop sworn to get revenge is almost severely bow-legged, and he wears tight jeans and cowboy boots which only accents how ridiculous he looks.  Plus he is supposed to be this bad ass with a loose cannon attitude, which  makes everything he does and says in the movie, more hilarious. 


  • There is gratuitous male nudity in the movie including a full frontal view of the bow-legged cops entire set.  


  • A masterful collection of terrible lines.  Here were some of my favorite quotes:

      –Richard Chance: Guess what? Uncle Sam don’t give a shit about your expenses. You want bread, fuck a baker.

      –While a cop is chasing a suspect:
       Card Counterfeiter: Why are you chasing me? 
       John Vukovich: I don’t know, why you running? 
       Credit Card Counterfeiter: ‘Cause you’re chasing me.

                -Richard Chance: You know what this is? 
        Thomas Ling: What’s the game? 
        Richard Chance: It’s no game. Just walk. 
        Thomas Ling: Why? 
        Richard Chance: Why? Because if you don’t, I’ll blow your fucking heart out!
                -Richard Chance: [to Vukovich] You ain’t my partner! You ain’t even my fucking friend. In fact, let me give you a little piece of advice: you better get your ass into protection, baby! Because you ain’t shit on the streets! You understand that? You ain’t got the nuts! Kiss my ass! Pussy motherfucker!
        
I could fill a page with the amazing lines in this movie. It was almost like watching “Grand Theft Auto:Vice City” in movie form.
  • There is a repeated effect that they use in the movie for the multiple people that get shot directly in the face.  The effect looks as if someone fills a water balloon with fake blood and then just throws it at the actor’s face.
  • Perhaps one of my favorite scenes in the movie, (without saying who or giving away spoilers) a character in the movie gets shot in the face from 4 feet away, by a 12 gauge shotgun.  A friend of the person that got shot finds him laying there and shakes his body screaming, “Talk to me!!”
    This movie was terrific.  If you are in the mood for a doozie, I suggest finding this movie and watching it…fast!  “To Live and Die in L.A.” is totally on my list of all time best cheesy actions films.


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