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  • An ironic aspect of this otherwise indigestible flop is that the final concept, although created as a desperate, expos facto attempt to inject life into the film, might have actually worked, had it been in the plan from the beginning.

    Although the future plot line (or present, according to how you wish to perceive it) involving Murphy was filmed later, the concept of one plot line's actions having a direct result on another in the future could have been interesting. All it needed was a script, production values, creative foresight and inspired performances by the actors. This film, unfortunately, had none of the above.

    Moore is convinced that a device slated to be installed on a tank is defective in its design, and must try to fix it before it's built and put into use. Two years in the future, sure enough, Murphy is driving a tank which uses this very device. Will Moore improve the design in time to save Murphy's life? Well, it's little confusing to flash back and forth between these plot lines, but they do manage to culminate into a semi-climactic moment, but much too late to save the viewer from mindless boredom.
  • shark-1922 December 1998
    No amount of alcohol can render this film bearable. I saw Eddie Murphy on Letterman a few years after this dog was released, talking about why he has to be careful with which scripts he accepts. He said, "A few years back I made a film called Best Defense. And it was bad. [looks into camera] REAL bad!"
  • I actually had a bit part in this film. It was filmed in Israel around 1985 in the desert and I got to work with Eddie Murphy. In one scene I appear (for about 10 seconds)standing in a jeep behind Eddie Murphy's jeep. I only mention this because I told my parents to see the film in the theater. My biggest regret is that they had to pay FULL PRICE to sit through an awful experience. I would not recommend this film to anyone.
  • Dudley Moore and Eddie Murphy are two entirely different looking actors who have two things in common. They were both hugely popular box office comedy stars throughout the 1980's and they were both part of the cast of this 1984 Paramount release. If these two comedy titans had any scenes together, that could've made the film really great but despite that setback, the film is not a total waste. Two stories are told in the film. One has to do with technology programmer Wylie Cooper's (Moore) chance encounter with a man who's on the run from some shady corporate criminals and how Cooper's life changes for the better and for the worse after the encounter. The other is set two years later and has to do with American soldier Landry (Murphy) test driving a faulty experimental tank that Cooper had invented and accidentally driving it into the middle of a battlefield. That tank (Cooper building it and Landry using it) is what the two stories have in common. The most major complaint about this film is its constantly shifting from one story to the other thus confusing some viewers. I managed to follow along though and if anybody who's thinking of seeing this one can too, you may find both leading actors in fine form. Just don't expect the comedy sparks of their far more successful individually starring vehicles including "Arthur" and "Beverly Hills Cop."
  • measham6 February 1999
    1/10
    Awful
    A truly terrible film. The only reason to watch this film all the way through is to see if it gets any worse. Trust me, it does.
  • This is one of those few films from my childhood that made a strong impression on me, mainly for the Eddie Murphy's WAM joke. I remembered it had something to do with a faulty new tank in the Iraq war and US engineers at home desperately trying to make something work in it. Oh the good memories.

    But now that I rewatched it, well… Eddie Murphy and the tank take up only 1/5 of the movie, while everything else is dedicated to a poor plot about a looser caught up in a spy novel, later dropped and substituted for poor planning by the ministry of defense.

    Besides Murphy tank escapade, only the Russian spy was entertaining to watch, but he only appeared in a couple of scenes. Everything else was a chore to watch. The special effects aren't that impressive. The idiot boss is just intolerably dumb. The portrayal of foreigners were horrid. And I have no idea why the wife and child subplot was even necessary, because you could literally replace them with a sealing fan to resolve the main flaw. Oh… Guess I forgot those parts for a reason.

    One of the main problems was the editing of events – the tank was developed after the main plots got resolved, but the movie was spliced like it all was happening simultaneously. Unfortunately that meant that the tank flaws were already resolved, or not, so there was really no suspense.

    Let's just say the best parts of the movie were about 5-10 minutes long and I would not have missed anything rewatching it. At some points I even confused Dudley Moore's acting for a Rowan Atkinson impersonation. That confusion kept me more entertained then the actual movie.

    At least some of it is good to riff over.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    i'm not sure how else to say it.the above summary pretty much describes my feelings on this movie.add to that,lots of crude language for no apparent reason,and you have the recipe for a bad movie.there is some language that Christians might be offended by.***possible minor spoiler***Dudley Moore and Eddie Murphy appear in this movie,but as far as i know,they don't share any scenes together.at least they didn't through the forty minutes i was able to watch before quitting.***end of spoiler***.I found Murphy more annoying than anything,and Moore didn't really leave much of an impression at all.in all pretty much a waste of time.pretty close to awful,in fact.for me,Best Defense is a 2/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie is yet another in a line of films which bags on the American defense system. Not that I am opposed to this, after all, it's a free country, but they were very popular in the eighties, during the peak of the cold war, showing the F.B.I., the C.I.A., and the American military as Chaplin-like buffoons unaware of everything. This is another "Ishtar" and it came out a few years earlier. Two big stars in each film who were box office draws (Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman in "Ishtar" and Eddie Murphy and Dudley Moore in "Best Defense") and people getting tricked into thinking each film will be entertaining. "Best Defense" is based on a great book "Easy and Hard Ways Out" by Robert Grossbach. The book centers almost entirely on the defense lab and will also go back and forth to show an overseas jet pilot named "Buchfarer" about to go on a mission with a new jet plane. In the film, Eddie Murphy, as "Landry", is the "Buchfarer" character and instead of a jet, it's a tank. Like the book, the film deals with two time parallels: the present and the past; the past dealing with the defense lab technical corporation as they are rushing a component that makes the "war machine" work so that it can get out quickly - and thus putting the future unknown soldier who will one day run this machine ("Buchfarer" and then "Landry") in jeopardy. The book does it very well (and there is a very unhappy ending, unlike the movie); the movie does it horribly. And in the book, the entire plot centers on the tech fighting to fix this machine, knowing that it won't work and the corporation wanting to get it out; meanwhile, the movie has so many sup-plots that this basic premise of the book is lost. Murphy's scenes seem contrived and pasted, his talent totally wasted and it showed folks back in those days, after "48 hours", "Trading Places", and "Beverly Hills Cop", that he was a mere mortal. Dudley Moore plays the most unlikeable character I have ever seen on film. All I can say is, read the book. There are so many classic characters, like a guy who literally lives in the corporation's bathroom, because he'd been fired the year before, and other classic situations, kind of a "M*A*S*H" in America; but the movie, having to make up for time, adds a silly side-story about the Russians and a stolen floppy disc. This might be one of the worst movies ever made. It just doesn't flow, it isn't fun to watch, and there is no point at all. One day maybe they'll do a faithful remake of the Grossbach novel, which you can find on the internet (don't be tricked by the fact that the novel is now called "Best Defense"). Director Willard Huck (I can't spell the man's last name) has ruined this book like he would turn out ruining a great comic book character, "Howard the Duck", a few years later. Willard is good friends with some great filmmakers: Lucas, Spielberg, etc., and is a good writer, but as a director he, like this film, comes up very, very, very short.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Best Defence. Is the worst film ever made. I went and paid good money to see this film when first released. It is the only film that has made me leave a cinema, after paying money to see a film. In fact it was so bad I tried to reclaim the money I spent. I pretended that I had accidentally gone to the wrong screening, but this did not work. A simply awful, woeful film! Dudley Moore and very sadly Eddie Murphy do absolutely nothing to help the film. Seriously flawed material. The film has NO funny lines, no real storyline that makes any sense and if possible avoid watching the film. It does serious damage to the industry.
  • BEST DEFENSE is a desperately unfunny comedy starring Dudley Moore and Eddie Murphy. Moore is an enigineer who is designing a new tank. Murphy is an Army soldier who takes the tank into combat in Kuwait. Dreary acting is not the only bad thing that comes out of this sorry turkey. After a failed test run, the filmmakers thought they could save grace by adding Murphy to the cast, but that only made things worse with plot holes and a nonsense story, resulting in one of the biggest mistakes ever.

    0 out of 5
  • Brilliant? Um, no. Does the ending more or less blow? Sure. But does it have its moments and does it have a serious pair of balls on it? Yep.

    Best Defense deserves a (moderately) better reputation than it's been left with. For starters, even though he seems embarrassed to even be IN the movie most of the time, Dudley Moore IS funny in here and has his funny scenes (I miss him). Eddie Murphy (even though his scenes are obviously pasted in) is the 1984 Eddie Murphy that we used to love so much (you can keep the 'Disney' Eddie Murphy of late, thank you) and is worth a few good laughs, and David Rasche (yes... SLEDGE HAMMER!) is a stitch as Jeff (the KGB agent). The scene where David is throwing Dudley all around the bar is worth the price of admission alone (assuming that's a small rental fee for the VHS tape, that is).

    It's worth a look, if only because it makes moves that few movies (if any) these days have the guts to make - give it a chance - see it drunk if you have to. :)

    P.S. Kate Capshaw is whistling the theme to 'Indiana Jones' in one scene??? Come on, everyone. That's pretty funny.
  • As near as I can tell, some producers attempted to capitalize on Eddie Murphy's (then) new popularity by having him film some scenes to be badly edited into an existing Dudley Moore film. I say this because the two stars never share a scene, and their respective storylines really do play like two completely different and unrelated films. The end result is a film so monstrously bad as to be unwatchable. That Eddie Murphy's career could survive this cow patty of a film shows how funny and appealing a performer he is.
  • I cannot believe the appalling "tripe" I'm hearing from some IMDB users about this and other "bottom 100" IMDB movies.

    After only a few hundred votes, this movie makes it into the bottom 100??? How is that fair? Only a few hundred stuck-up movie critic wannabe's rate this movie and it gets a bottom-of-the-barrel rating?

    This movie is pretty good, especially when you consider it was one of Eddie Murphy's first movies. It was a little dull, but hardly worse than a 4-6 rating.

    Please people, let's save the 1-3 ratings for the TRULY horrible movies out there. If you give bad ratings to movies like this, you completely invalidate the entire system. These ratings have to be weighted by the number of people who voted -- you can't take 100 votes and call that comprehensive!!!
  • Brilliant? Um, no. Does the ending more or less blow? Sure. But does it have its moments and does it have a serious pair of balls on it? Yep.

    Best Defense deserves a (moderately) better reputation than it's been left with. For starters, even though he seems embarrassed to even be IN the movie most of the time, Dudley Moore IS funny in here and has his funny scenes (I miss him). Eddie Murphy (even though his scenes are obviously pasted in) is the 1984 Eddie Murphy that we used to love so much (you can keep the 'Disney' Eddie Murphy of late, thank you) and is worth a few good laughs, and David Rasche (yes... SLEDGE HAMMER!) is a stitch as Jeff (the KGB agent). The scene where David is throwing Dudley all around the bar is worth the price of admission alone (assuming that's a small rental fee for the VHS tape, that is).

    It's worth a look, if only because it makes moves that few movies (if any) these days have the guts to make - give it a chance - see it drunk if you have to. :)
  • On a dull evening at home recently I saw this was showing on ITV2, and I settled down to enjoy what I thought would be a reasonably amusing comedy.

    Oh dear.

    Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were one of the greatest ever comedy acts. Peter Cook was a hilarious solo act. Dudley Moore was a brilliant musician...but NOT a good solo comedy player.

    All Mr Moore's films seem to have him in an ill fitting three piece suit and horrible seventies hairstyle, running manically around hotel corridors and swearing a lot. This film is no exception.

    It just didn't have any really funny moments. Mr Murphy (whose scenes were slotted in later) had one or two funny lines but that was about it.

    If Saddam Hussein got the idea of invading Iraq from this film, that would be a good reason to ban it!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Seeking out bad movies that I missed in my youth is not a regular practice of mine but I did want to see the movie Alan Spencer mentioned in the audio commentaries on the Sledge Hammer DVD boxed sets. Spencer mentioned David Rasche's performance in Best Defense as one of (maybe the only, can't remember) reason he wanted Rasche to play the lead in his police satire sitcom, Sledge Hammer. It is extremely easy to see the connection in the performances.

    Rasche plays, Jeff. It's not clear whether or not Jeff is a KGB agent or an industrial spy who buys and sells information to whoever wants to buy it. The movie feels like it comes to an abrupt halt when he's off the screen and everything that happens after that aspect of the story feels painfully anti-climatic. It could be because there's no real action in the third act that makes any sense.

    The history of this movie is that it didn't test well at all and in order to try and salvage the project, Eddie Murphy was hired to film separate scenes to sort of jack it up in a comedy sense. The patch in doesn't work. Because Dudley Moore's character is involved with designing a component for tanks, Eddie Murphy plays an Army Lieutenant who is testing (it has to be later right?) the tank, presumably with the component in use. Much of the third act features a back and forth. From flashback to Moore trying to fix the component to flashforward, to Murphy in a situation where said component needs to work. Back and forth, back and forth and in the end, it just stops going back and forth. I guess mentioning this means this review has spoilers.

    The movie has a fine cast. They really don't have much to work with which is fairly obvious. Dudley Moore's main comedic contributions is sex jokes and a kind of understated buffoonery throughout. Eddie Murphy in his own scenes come across as improvised jokes in army fatigues and in a tank. This is Murphy in his prime and he's entertaining but if all of his scenes were together in their own short film and not spliced in, it would be more enjoyable though Murphy has been better and done better. If I want to see old Eddie Murphy footage, I wouldn't watch this, I'd watch SNL reruns, Beverly Hills Cop, and 48 hrs.

    When looking for a laugh, aside from Moore and Murphy, there's just Rasche whose Jeff character is an excitable psychotic. He commands the scenes he's in which isn't difficult since most of them feature Dudley Moore who is like the straight man in a comedy routine.

    The movie really is only worth seeing for Rasche's performance and that's especially true for Sledge Hammer fans. I like most things the Second City alumnis were involved in. Raschi was a member in the 70's and Murphy was briefly in the 80's. Moore was great in Pete and Dud/Derek and Clive. They could've all been better served with a better script but there doesn't look like there's much for them to work with outside what they themselves could bring to their roles.
  • JohnI-27 August 2001
    Even though this film was not entertaining, it is prophetic. This movie predicts that Iraq will invade Kuwait, and that the US will be involved, 7 years before it actually happens.

    Perhaps Sadaam got the idea from this movie, and it convinced him that he could win. After all, he did watch CNN.
  • This film is thoroughly entertaining and funny. Dudley Moore is as utterly watchable as ever, as is the "strategic guest star", Eddie Murphy. Actually, the 2 never appear in the same scene together, as Eddie's are set 2 years after Dudley's, and the action switches back and forth as if some idiot were fiddling with the remote control. Dudley runs around and gets into lots of trouble, Eddie says "S***!" a lot, and that's about it. It isn't really important, but the plot's quite clever and weird and convuluted as well. This is a brilliant, hilarious, underrated film.
  • parmrh11 January 2014
    I'll go against the crowd and point out that this much-reviled movie actually was quite prescient in premise. It anticipated a lot of History... and a lot of Human Error.

    Mayhap it was too 'out there' for audiences in 1984,...and mayhap it has become an easy target for arm chair critics to despise out-of-hand without due consideration....

    But after Afghanistan and Iraq... After the highly-publicized and critical defense industry design errors such as the Osprey and basics such as protective armor in Hummvees and personal protective gear for troops on the ground.... After the loss of life due to a 'so-what-if-it-works-take-the -$$$-and- we'll-fix -it-later-if-we-have to' attitude prevalent in the defense manufacturing industry....

    Can anyone really throw rocks at the plot line of 'Best Defense'...?

    Sure, it could have been executed better... Sure, Dudley Moore was still under the character-success-type-casting curse of '10'; having to be a perpetually the befuddled Randy-But-Inept Nice Guy in his every movie role....

    Sure Eddie Murphy was ...well...stuck being 'Eddie Murphy'... (but you really can't take that away from him, y'know !)

    I still maintain that in the cold, hard light of 2014... 'Best Defense' makes A Lot Of Sense....(sadly, so..SO... sorry to say)
  • I felt this was an interesting concept for a movie.Two characters separated by time and place, but connected by one piece of equipment, on a tank.It of course had its moments of cheese, but most comedies do.Moore's performance was good,as was Murphy's.The only really bad performances were the two female leads,Kate Capshaw, and Helen Shaver. Capshaw chews the scenery, but she pretty much does that in all of her movies, and certainly was no worse in this movie than in Space Camp.Helen Shaver's performance wasn't horrible, but she tended to whine a bit too much.Tom Noonan as the Soviet spy/surfer dude, was a scream,and the FBI surveillance scene made my sides hurt. My overall rating on this movie, is a solid 6,above average, but not terrific.I did feel the concept was very innovative, flashing back and forth from 1982 Southern California, to 1984 Kuwait.So, if you can find this movie in the bargain basement rack,for say 2 dollars or less, it might be worth it to have a look, otherwise, wait to see it on cable.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Good movie sky of the sun coming soon on paramount pictures mod blu-ray release December
  • It is a widespread myth that Eddie Murphy's scenes were only added after the movie tested poorly with audiences. That theory makes sense, given that the Dudley Moore and Eddie Murphy storylines are so different and set in two time periods, and that Murphy's appearance is so brief. But actually, the film was based on a Robert Grossbach book that already had cross-cutting in it (though it was about the Vietnam War), called "Easy and Hard Ways Out," and the film was all shot in late 1983. This is a quote from Murphy's agent in a July 1984 Wall Street Journal article, the same month the film came out: "No, no," was how Bob Wachs, Mr. Murphy's manager, responded to the theory. "From the beginning, the movie was structured the way it is. The movie was signed with Dudley Moore as a sure go, then we signed on last August." (Shooting didn't begin until October.) Mr. Wachs explained that even though Mr. Murphy had a five-picture deal with Paramount last summer (which doesn't include "Best Defense"), the studio "didn't have a starring vehicle we considered appropriate for Eddie. Rather than Eddie sitting around not being on the screen at all this summer, we wanted him to be in something. This isn't our movie. Dudley Moore is the star of this movie." However, Mr. Murphy is displayed more prominently than Mr. Moore in television ads for the movie, and local theaters have put both names in letters of equal size on their marquees. Isn't Mr. Wachs worried that Mr. Murphy's fans might be angry to find out their hero shows up only sporadically and in a confused movie to boot? "Paramount controls the distribution and advertisement," Mr. Wachs replied. "This was a cameo, for God's sake."
  • This is no masterpiece, but it's pretty good and offers lots of laughs and excitement. The ending is especially satisfying.

    Dudley Moore does a pretty good job. I'm aware he has received acclaim for some of his roles. This isn't one of them.

    I know David Rasche best as a reckless cop supposedly based on Dirty Harry. He's nearly as talented here.

    Eddie Murphy dies what he does best: laugh and cry. However, I've seen better from him.

    Don't expect too much, and I don't believe this film will disappoint.
  • slightlymad2221 January 2018
    Continuing my plan to watch every Eddie Murphy movie in order, I come to Best Defence (1984)

    Plot In A Paragraph: A military weapons engineer struggles to do his job responsibly, while a tank commander has to live with the consequences in combat two years later.

    This is a real Mis step for Murphy and it's seriously unfunny!! Although both integral to the plot, Dudley Moore and Eddie Murphy never appear in the same scene. Murphy's (Billed as a Strategic Guest Star) character was added to the film after the original version tested disastrously with audiences. When asked about it Eddie Murphy replied I said "What?! How dare you give me a script like this! Oh, THAT much money? Let's go!" Murphy has also said, "How did I get involved? The door opened, and four men came in carrying a check, that was more than I was paid for 48 Hrs. and Trading Places combined."

    Murphy's scenes are set two years after Moore's but the two stories are intercut (long before it became fashionable to show movies out of order) so the Murphy scenes are littered throughout the movie, instead of all being at the end. One has to wonder how bad this movie was before Murphy's involvement, as he is the best thing in it by far, even though he is not on top form, and is at least watchable. There is one spell (about 30 mins in) where Murphy is not on screen for about half an hour, and I have serious thought to turning it off, as life is just too short!! I persevered with it.

    Best Defence grossed $19 million at the domestic box office to finish 1984 the 56th highest grossing movie of the year. Luckily for Murphy he had another movie out that in 1984, and the momentum his career had, was not hurt.
  • culttv-21 April 2017
    I was shocked to see that this came out in July '84 in the US, because we in the UK didn't get it until almost 18 months later. It was pretty much the norm at that time for films to come out 6 months to a year later in the UK than in the US, but this surprised me when I saw it just now on IMDb. I saw this film on a first date with a girlfriend at the time, January 1986. We figured it was the only thing worth watching after seeing what else was playing at that 3-screen cinema. We should have seen something else. This was probably the most dull and boring film I had seen up until that time, and I think the first film I had watched starring Eddie Murphy (His earlier films I saw a little later). I haven't had the courage to watch it again since because now that I am 30 years older, time is precious.
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