Cohen and Tate (1988)

R   |    |  Crime, Thriller


Cohen and Tate (1988) Poster

When a little boy witnesses a mob hit, he is kidnapped by two professional assassins who are not what they seem.


6.4/10
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1 June 2013 | Spikeopath
7
| Nine. Hmm. How about that.
Cohen & Tate is directed by Eric Red who also adapts the screenplay from the short story "The Ransom of Red Chief" written by O. Henry. It stars Roy Scheider, Adam Baldwin, Harley cross, Suzanne Savoy and Marco Perella. Music is by Bill Conti and cinematography by Victor J. Kemper.

Two professional hit men known as Cohen (Scheider) and Tate (Baldwin) kidnap 9 year old Travis Knight (Cross) from the Witness Protection Program and set off to deliver him to mob bosses in Houston. But with the wise old Cohen the polar opposite of the younger and psychotic Tate, young Travis senses an opportunity to turn the pair of them against each other to maybe manufacture his escape?

After a quite brutal opening, Cohen and Tate settles into a road movie where 90% of the action is based in a car populated by only three characters. The premise is simple, an increasingly psychotic Tate (Baldwin overacting to within an inch of his life) wants to kill the annoying kid in the back seat. Cohen (a graceful and film saving Scheider) is not having that, he may be a hit-man but he still has codes and orders to adhere to. Travis the kid (Cross is whiny and poor) chips away at each man's psyche, causing a fractured atmosphere that ensures we are never quite sure how it will end up. In fact the finale is actually a doozy.

That Cohen & Tate is no forgotten masterpiece is down to uneven direction, poor acting away from Scheider and an all round preposterous feeling to it all. Credibility and logic is stretched to breaking point, often, while the dialogue doesn't sit right with the characters on show. Frustrating really because in spite of its problems it's a very watchable picture that has a strong premise at its core, and Scheider is definitely a reason to take a punt on a viewing. Even if he, and us, deserve a better movie as a whole. 7/10

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