Kuffs (1992)

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Bruce A. Evans directs Christian Slater, Tony Goldwyn and Milla Jovovich in this slacker cop star vehicle. 

A half term video rental that disappointed me as a kid then, now pleasantly wiled away an afternoon as I approached middle age. Now don’t get me wrong Kuffs still is on the broken side of poor. A cash-in’s cash-in. 50% of it is winless filler, an excuse for Slater to woo his gal or his show off his hot bod or both. And 40% is xeroxed shamelessly from better films half a decade too late. His costume is a direct lift from Beverly Hills Cop, his straight to camera chats are pickpocketed from Ferris Bueller (I doubt anyone involved has ever seen Alfie), he talks down a suicide à la Lethal Weapon (I doubt anyone involved has ever seen Dirty Harry), they introduce a buddy cop element for 20 minutes then ignore it for the next hour, then try to introduce a K-9 / Turner and Hooch twist three scenes before the uninspired car-park set finale. Kuffs gets shot, two minutes later he’s tops off, showing us his hot bod with nary a scar. They even kill off the main antagonist a whole act too early. Sloppy shit, right? Well yes. BUT Christian Slater is worthy of a cash-in vehicle. All his preppy, sleazy, puppy fat Jack Nicholson with good hair intensity is present and correct, front and centre. There are blips of excellent quirkiness; a self aware bleeped out sweary scene, a perfect slapstick moment where Kuffs almost bests a bad guy by throwing a lamp, a running gag involving the narcotics office, a straight to camera chat where our fast talking hero is bound and gagged. Sure all these punchlines that work only take up 10% of what still is a largely uninspired product… but they are the remaining 10% and they are inspired and they have a movie star delivering them who, while he never hit the A-List, had a great 90s career of slightly off-kilter action comedies. Broken Arrow, Hard Rain, Very Bad Things. They are nobodies’ faves, they aren’t his best leads performances but, fuck me, I bet you wanna have a Christian Slater Movie Marathon…right now, today. Don’t cha? And all those superior hit movies Kuffs “homages”… well, Hollywood is not making action comedies like that anymore. Hasn’t for a decade. Not since Bruce Willis shat the bed with Cop Out. Bad or good we have to travel back in time to enjoy an entire genre. How great would it be to go see a movie with fast talking gags, guns and an electronic Harold Faltermeye score? It would be fucking amazing. Call Germany, get Harold on the phone, let’s make one, Slater can play the villian or the police chief or…fuck it… he can still play the lead. I’m off to make a kickstarter.

5

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