Carol Hunnicut inadvertently witnesses a mob hit, and her testimony can convict a very powerful gangster. Deputy district attorney Robert Caulfield is determined to put her on the stand and flies to a remote location in Canada where she is hiding out, but it's not long before the mob are on their trail. Frantically, they board a large passenger train going to Vancouver, but will they ever get off the train alive
This is a taut, dependable thriller; nothing special, but there isn't a dull scene anywhere and crucially Hyams has real gift for the rhythm of his movies - scenes flow effortlessly together and the atmosphere of tension is sustained from start to finish. The material is familiar but the execution is first rate, and reliable Hackman is the perfect anchor around which the film is built, an action hero without macho posturing or moralistic superiority. The film is as interesting when he's quietly negotiating with the bad guys as when they're chasing him in a helicopter, and that's the way it should be. There's also a terrific score by Bruce Broughton with a creepy four note piano motif, and fabulous stuntwork by Glenn Wilder - the finale atop the train is one of those rare scenes where the actors really look like they are in danger. A remake of the classic 1952 Richard Fleischer/Earl Felton film noir The Narrow Margin, this script isn't quite as clever (in the original the woman is the mobster's widow and there's a clever identity twist), but still has some surprises in store. Produced by Carolco Pictures (They Live, Shocker), with exteriors shot in beautiful British Columbia, this is a bad movie to be in if you're an actor called Walsh - both of them get killed in the first twenty minutes !
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