Tango & Cash Movie Review

Tango & Cash

Two of L.A.'s top rival cops are going to have to work together... Even if it kills them


It's 1989 and Both Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone need a hit. Naturally in the decade of big-budget commercial action films, neither the actors nor the studio want to take a risk, so we get "Tango & Cash".

This is really quite a charming film. It tells the story of two seperate policemen from two seperate precints Ray Tango (Stallone) & Gabriel Cash (Russell) and how they both play a pivotal role in the lives of each other. Both are from different sides of LA.

Disciplined and prisitine Tango wears a three-peice suit to work and is practically a yuppie, spending as much time on the phone to his stockbroker as he works on cases. When his Sarge asks him why he bothers doing the job since he has enough money he simply responds "for the adventure" (or something similar).

Meanwhile, Gabriel Cash is a little more un-restrained, thriving in the theatre of blue-collar fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants policework.

Although both have varying approaches to crime fighting, they are the respective "top cops" of their side of the city, making high-profile busts and arrests. In fact they're both so good at what they do, they frequently make the headlines in the papers for their heroic actions on duty, whilst at the same time incurring the ire of criminal bosses.

Eventually however, they pick up the same line of investigation on a narcotics case and bump into each other at a warehouse, each going in to make the bust. After accusing each other of being "the /second/ best cop in LA" Tango & Cash hastily break the door down, only to walk into a carefully planned sting.

The setup is immaculate, they are caught in a room with a dead body (which looks like it's been shot by Cash's gun), a haul of drugs, and a brief-case full of cash. Arressted at trial they learn the extent of the foul-play as the prosecution plays extremely incriminating audio samples of the suspects. Faced with a mountain of evidence, they consult each other and decide to plea-bargain in the hopes of getting an 18-month sentence at a minimum security jail.

Instead they get a far heavier sentence at a maximumm security prison.

Naturally being policemen they're not popular with the other inmates and soon realise that whether they stay in Prison or escape they are going to be dead men. However, at least on the outside they have a chance to clear their names, hence they plan an escape...

The film itself is an fast-paced work of cinema typical of the decade. Part "buddy" movie, part out & out action flick, Tango & Cash moves along at a good pace and doesn't get too boring. The actors make the most of a decent script and their characters are always quipping at each other. They're competitive but find a respect for each others methods, and personality.

Forced to work togather at first, they quickly discover they make an efficient and energetic team, frequently not even needing to verbally communicate, as they operate on the exact same level of professional brilliance that has made them the best of their respective divisions.

The Scene where they both realise through different yet equally detailed observations where the criminal is hiding was nicely done, as was typical role 'reversal' that takes place when Tango's sister is kidnapped, and he reacts emotionally, leaving Cash to make the cold and calculating decision.

The script is decent, and the storyline entertaining. I would have personally liked to see a Tango & Cash II, but although the film wasn't a flop, it was soon the 90's and this type of movie had run it's course.

Tango & Cash is sort of a campy version of Lethal Weapon. Kurt Russell has similar hair and attitude to Mel Gibson but his character is not nearly as engaging and clearly crazy as Gibson's. Sly isn't so bad in this film. He not too serious, and not too flamboyant, and manages to play a strong character without having the luxury of going to extremes.

Author: Yaz JungUpdate This Review


Tango & Cash was not as huge as it's Franchise Bretheren, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Predator etc. but it is definitely a watachable and enjoyable alternative. Perfect for a night with the guys.

Generally good dialogue, well paced, funny in the right places, nicely acted, decent soundtrack, fun to watch
Lacks the gritty vision of a movie like "Die Hard". It's not inventive in terms of acting, camera angles, effects, maybe just a little too 'light'

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The Movie Data

Key Crew

Director: Andrei Konchalovsky, Albert Magnoli
Writer: Randy Feldman
Producers: Larry J. Franco, Peter Guber
Locations Manager: Robbie Goldstein

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Release Date: 22 Dec 1989
MPAA Rating: R
Studio: Warner Bros.
Production: The Guber-Peters Company
Genre: Action / Adventure

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The Movie Trailer
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1989 Warner Bros.
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