[box cover]

The Chase (1994)

For Jackson Hammond (Charlie Sheen), life hasn't been all that great. Convicted of crimes he didn't commit and facing a 25-year stint, his original plan was simply to cross over into Mexico for the rest of his life. But when he stops at a convenience store, the car he was using is reported stolen just as two cops walk in while he's stuck waiting on the world's slowest clerk. When it becomes apparent he's about to be nabbed, he grabs the girl standing in front of him as a hostage, pretending his Butterfinger is a gun. Forced on the run he takes the girl, Natalie Voss (Kristy Swanson), hostage on a race to Mexico pursued by a squad of cops, with Officer Dobbs (Henry Rollins) and Figus (Josh Mostel) taking the lead, who are being filmed by a "Cops"-style TV crew. Natalie's father Dalton (Ray Wise) is one of the richest men in town, and he puts pressure on the police chief to get the situation handled. But Jack's hard-luck story eventually warms up Natalie, and an attraction builds between them while cars litter the highway in pursuit. Adam Rifkin's 1994 The Chase is too good natured and slight to draw ire, and as entertainment it's passable in a Sunday afternoon sort of way. It has no illusions about itself and manages to never outstay its welcome. It's also well enough shot and acted, and it features a gag that was later lifted for Bad Boys 2 (2003) when cadavers get strewn in the road during the pursuit. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the movie is the appearance of Kristy Swanson. Having been acting since she was nine, there was a time when it seemed she might become an A-lister, but none of her lead roles connected (including this, 1991's Mannequin 2: On the Move, and 1992's Buffy the Vampire Slayer). After The Phantom (1996), she was an also-ran reduced to playing secondary girlfriend characters; by 2002, she reached the nadir of the "Hey maybe it'll help my career, what have I got to lose?" Playboy pictorial, and she's currently doing a tour of duty in TV movies. For executive producer Charlie Sheen, The Chase is part of his run of insubstantial comedy-action films, which plagued the early '90s. In his way, Sheen was a stop-gap star — famous enough to top-line films, but never someone that actively drew public support (did anyone ever say "Hey let's go catch the new Charlie Sheen movie?") As his career has matured, he's turned himself into an ace comic supporting player (something kicked off with 1999's Being John Malkovich), and he always had great comic timing. But to look at his career and the number of starring roles he garnered during his post Platoon run beggars belief. Fox presents The Chase in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) with Dolby 4.0 Surround audio. Theatrical trailer, keep-case.

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