14 March 2004 | grendelkhan
Could have been great, still entertaining
Lassiter has all the ingredients of a great film: a great caper, good leads, an interesting setting, action, and romance. What it didn't have was a budget to do the production justice, and an overabundance of tv actors.
Lassiter is basically an attempt to cash in on Tom Selleck's fame on Magnum PI, and his loss of the role of Indiana Jones. The film is set in the same time period as Raiders of the Lost Ark, with the same villains, the Nazis. Instead of a swashbuckling archaeologist, Selleck is a slick jewel thief, Nick Lassiter. Instead of being recruited by the government to recover a treasure, he is blackmailed. However, this is no ode to the Republic serials; no, this is an ode to the caper films of yesterday, with a little To Catch a Thief thrown in for good measure.
Selleck's Nick Lassiter is an American jewel thief, living and operating in London. When not stealing from high society, he enjoys the good life. Selleck looks good in his period costumes, like he belongs. He brings charm and humor to the role, the perfect blend for a gentleman thief.
Jane Seymour is his love interest, a dancer. Seymour is beautiful as always and makes the most of a limited role.
Lauren Hutton gets the juicier role of the Nazi courier and kinky assassin. Hutton plays this decadent role to the hilt, if a bit over the top.
Finally, Bob Hoskins is a London cop who concocts the frame-up that forces Lassiter to attempt to steal Nazi diamonds. This is one of Hoskins earlier film roles and he easily steals the movie. He's not a likable character, but he keeps your interest.
The rest of the cast is filled primarily with tv actors, like Joe Regalbuto and Ed Lauter. They are fine actors, but don't bring the same level to their character roles that the better film actors do. Their appearance has more to do with budget than talent.
The film was co-financed by Raymond Chow, of Golden Harvest, which explains the low budget. Had this been a bigger studio picture, with stronger supporting characters, it could have been a great hit. Instead, it is an entertaining minor film, which appears to steal from James Bond and Indiana Jones. It looks like it was made for tv, and works better on the small screen. The music is of the period, and makes a welcome change from more modern music. The end credits feature a song from Taco. For those not acquainted with 80's New Wave, Taco was an odd performer who mixed New Wave sounds with Cole Porter and other Jazz Age songs. He had the perfect voice for those songs, but the end result was more amusing than memorable.
This is a fine film to watch on a rainy Saturday afternoon, or when sick in bed. It brings a smile to your face, as long as your expectations aren't too high.