Brief note before we start: last July we got together yet again and worked out a fourth class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly a decade since we started BMT and as usual the films from more than five years ago might just deserve a rewatch, a reassessment, and a recap. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the seventh (ninth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films chosen. Tango & Cash (or is it Rich & Poe?) check off all the boxes: Sly Stallone, Sly Stallone, and Sly Stallone. This is the preview for the film, a Hall of Fame induction speech will follow immediately afterwards. Enjoy!
Generated on: 2020-01-13
Tango & Cash (1989) – BMeTric: 21.3; Notability: 68
(The rating is actually a bit lower than I would have expected. This is a really really fun film, and a film I’ve seen mentioned online as being underrated. So I would have kind of expected it to me close to 7.0 to be honest. I guess it helps that the movie is just a bit too strange (especially near the end) for people to get entirely on board? Love the notability though. This was probably just after Stallone’s Imperial Phase (to borrow a term from music) which is maybe 1983 to 1988, but it is close.)
Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Rumored $55 million budget must have gone for male hairstyling in congenitally derivative narc caper about two competitive cops who take on M.r Big. Surprisingly tolerable, though, with a nifty prison break sequence and a pleasingly relaxed Stallone.
(A pleasingly relaxed review by Leonard. Odd use of the word congenitally to be honest, but genuinely an interesting take on the movie as it was probably written at the time of release. I’m sure that is part of the reason the movie is merely borderline BMT, critics probably like “meh, fun”.)
(This is an incredibly bad trailer for conveying what the movie is about. It’s an incredibly good trailer in that it condenses all the truly insane shit from the film into a short clip that genuinely makes me excited to watch it.)
Directors – Andrey Konchalovskiy – (Known For: Runaway Train; Shy People; Chacun son cinéma ou Ce petit coup au coeur quand la lumière s’éteint et que le film commence; Ray; The Inner Circle; Belye nochi pochtalyona Alekseya Tryapitsyna; Dom durakov; Future BMT: The Nutcracker in 3D; Homer and Eddie; BMT: Tango & Cash; Notes: Fired from the film by the ever erratic producer Jon Peters who was famous for the Superman/Wild Wild West giant mechanical spider story. He won an Emmy for the miniseries The Odyssey.)
Albert Magnoli – (Known For: Purple Rain; BMT: American Anthem; Tango & Cash; Notes: Brought in to finish the film. For a time he was Prince’s manager.)
Writers – Randy Feldman (written by) – (Known For: Hell Night; Future BMT: Metro; Nowhere to Run; La chispa de la vida; BMT: Tango & Cash; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Tango & Cash in 1990; Notes: Brother of Dennis Feldman, who wrote BMT films Species II and The Golden Child, along with a number of future BMT films.)
Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Creed II; Rocky; First Blood; The Expendables; Creed; Escape Plan; Rocky Balboa; Cliffhanger; The Expendables 2; Rocky III; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Rocky II; Cop Land; Bullet to the Head; Antz; Death Race 2000; Nighthawks; Escape to Victory; Future BMT: Escape Plan II; Staying Alive; Rocky V; Escape Plan 3; D-Tox; The Specialist; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Avenging Angelo; Backtrace; Ratchet & Clank; Collection; Assassins; Oscar; Rocky IV; BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Driven; Zookeeper; Rhinestone; Get Carter; Judge Dredd; Rambo III; Cobra; Over the Top; Daylight; The Expendables 3; Rambo: Last Blood; Tango & Cash; Grudge Match; Lock Up; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Demolition Man; Rambo; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Actor for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Winner for Worst Actor in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1989 for Rambo III; and in 1993 for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Spy Kids 3: Game Over in 2004; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for Cobra, Cobra, Lock Up, Lock Up, Over the Top, Over the Top, Rambo III, Rambo III, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rhinestone, Rocky IV, and Tango & Cash; Nominee for Worst Director for The Expendables in 2011; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1986 for Rocky IV; in 1987 for Cobra; in 1989 for Rambo III; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1994 for Cliffhanger; and in 2002 for Driven; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1987 for Cobra; in 1988 for Over the Top; in 1990 for Lock Up, and Tango & Cash; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1992 for Oscar; in 1995 for The Specialist; in 1996 for Assassins, and Judge Dredd; in 1997 for Daylight; in 2001 for Get Carter; and in 2014 for Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan, and Grudge Match; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999; Notes: I mean, come on.)
Kurt Russell – (Known For: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood; Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Forrest Gump; The Hateful Eight; The Christmas Chronicles; Fast & Furious 8; The Thing; Fast & Furious 7; Tombstone; Deepwater Horizon; Death Proof; Bone Tomahawk; Sky High; Stargate; Big Trouble in Little China; Executive Decision; Escape from New York; Grindhouse; Overboard; Future BMT: Captain Ron; The Best of Times; Crypto; Jiminy Glick in Lalawood; It Happened at the World’s Fair; BMT: Poseidon; Soldier; 3000 Miles to Graceland; Tango & Cash; Vanilla Sky; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Tango & Cash in 1990; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for 3000 Miles to Graceland in 2002; Notes: Double come on. It’s Kurt!)
Teri Hatcher – (Known For: Tomorrow Never Dies; Spy Kids; Coraline; 2 Days in the Valley; Planes: Fire & Rescue; Soapdish; The Big Picture; Resurrecting the Champ; Future BMT: Planes; Heaven’s Prisoners; Straight Talk; Madness in the Method; BMT: Tango & Cash; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 1997 for 2 Days in the Valley, and Heaven’s Prisoners; Notes: Probably best known for TV work, winning a Golden Globe for Desperate Housewives. Also was a 49ers cheerleader.)
Budget/Gross – $55 million / Domestic: $63,408,614 (Worldwide: $63,408,614)
(Modest hit. A little strange in that you have a film with two megastars, that was modestly popular at the time of its release, and yet usually when I mention this film to people my age they’ve never heard of it.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 31% (14/45): Brutally violent and punishingly dull, this cookie-cutter buddy cop thriller isn’t even fun enough to reach “so bad it’s good” status.
(Punishingly dull! Punishingly dull?! That’s just flat wrong. Not, cookie-cutter buddy cop thriller… that… that’s true. I will contend it’s clearly so bad that it’s good and Rottentomatoes should amend that consensus. Reviewer Highlight: The jokes seem lame and the rivalry fraudulent, as the two boys play with their big guns. – Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune)
Poster – Rich & Poe (D)
(The literal Rich & Poe poster. I even have a coffee cup with that image on it. Ironically it’s a really bad poster. Kinda violates all my rules. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: Probably my best fake movie poster ever. I got the graininess just right, and started to actually manipulate things in the image (like the glasses, which are just modified directly off of the picture of Stallone). Could have done better with the font I suppose.)
Tagline(s) – Two of L.A.’s top rival cops are going to have to work together… Even if it kills them. (C-)
(Egad, that’s long. It’s not even that clever when you think about it. They went for a double entendre, but it only really makes sense in one meaning. Also bad.)
Keyword – buddy movie
Top 10: Green Book (2018), The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019), Hall Pass (2011), The Other Guys (2010), Bad Boys (1995), Central Intelligence (2016), Men in Black (1997), Ice Age (2002), Hot Fuzz (2007), 21 Jump Street (2012)
Future BMT: 49.8 Gone Fishin’ (1997), 44.7 National Security (2003), 42.2 Transylvania 6-5000 (1985), 40.4 Hall Pass (2011), 39.7 Pink Cadillac (1989), 33.2 Sahara (2005), 31.9 Armed and Dangerous (1986), 27.9 Men in Black II (2002), 27.5 Rush Hour 3 (2007), 16.9 Bad Boys II (2003);
BMT: Wild Wild West (1999), Tango & Cash (1989), Double Team (1997), Another 48 Hrs. (1990), Hot to Trot (1988)
(This genre is really dying. It is kind of amazing. I’m very excited for all of the films that are coming up. They are almost universally great bad movies.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sylvester Stallone is No. 1 billed in Tango & Cash and No. 1 billed in Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 10. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 8.
Notes – When Tango and Cash escape from the prison, Cash turns to Tango and asks if he stopped “for coffee and a Danish.” Tango says, “I hate Danish,” an in-joke referring to Sylvester Stallone’s recent divorce from Danish actress Brigitte Nielsen. (oof)
The glasses Sylvester Stallone wears early in the film are his own, not props. He usually wears contact lenses in his films. The lenses show that he is very near-sighted in one eye, less so in the other. Plus, he has astigmatism.
Director Andrey Konchalovskiy was replaced toward the end of principal photography by Albert Magnoli. In his book of memoirs, Konchalovsky says that the reason he was fired was because he wanted to give the film a more serious tone than the producers wanted, and as such, his relationship with Producer Jon Peters became untenable. Konchalovsky, however, has nothing but praise for Sylvester Stallone, who he states was a constant voice of reason on the set.
When Brion James was originally hired to play Requin, it was a very small role with only two lines. In an effort to give the character something that would make him stand out, James decided to speak in a horrible “cockney” accent. Sylvester Stallone loved it, and re-wrote the script to give Requin a much bigger role. (Jesus, Imperial Phase for real)
The scene where Tango faces an oncoming truck with nothing but a gun was borrowed from Ging chaat goo si (1985), where Jackie Chan performed the stunt. As a “response”, Chan would later reference the make shift zip-line prison escape moment in this film in a scene early in the third installment of the Police Story series, Ging chaat goo si III: Chiu kup ging chaat (1992) (Oh, fun)
Patrick Swayze was originally cast as Cash, but he dropped out to star in Road House (1989). (Good choice, although I feel like Tango & Cash would have benefited from his more serious attitude)
Kurt Russell was originally considered and offered the role of Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon (1987), but he turned it down, and it went to Mel Gibson, with whom he worked on Tequila Sunrise (1988). His character in this film is loosely based on Riggs.
While filming the scene in which the back of the SUV catches fire, the flames would not go out when filming was over. Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone were caught in a cross draft. Stallone was so close to the fire that his hair was singed in places.
Years later, Sylvester Stallone offered the role of “Mr. Church” to Kurt Russell in The Expendables (2010). Russell declined the role, which was then accepted by Bruce Willis.
A total of four different people directed the film. Andrey Konchalovskiy, who was fired after about three months of filming by Jon Peters, Sylvester Stallone, after the movie went over-budget and schedule (but not by his fault), Executive Producer Peter MacDonald, who was also the Second Unit Director, then took over directing on the movie for some time (a year earlier MacDonald had to step in as a director for Stallone’s previous movie Rambo III (1988) after the original director was fired by Stallone), then Albert Magnoli was hired as the new director to finish the movie (but even after principal photography was finished, he caused two more weeks of further delays after he decided to re-shoot some parts of the movie), and Stallone was also directing the movie behind the scenes (something he was known for, especially during the 80s). None of them however had any control over the editing of the movie. Instead, Warner Bros. hired expert editor Stuart Baird to re-edit the movie after they expressed strong dislike for the initial rough cut. Baird hired another editor Hubert de La Bouillerie to help out when Warner Bros. kept complaining on every different cut of the movie that was edited, which almost caused for release date to be pushed way further than planned.In the end, the movie was finally approved for theatrical release by Warner Bros., and it ended up being shipped to theaters only a week after its original release date, as “wet prints” – an industry term meaning that the movie was just barely completed before its release date.
One of the monster trucks at the quarry scene towards the end is the famous Bigfoot truck. Although it’s painted different colors than its trademark blue color, and does not feature any Bigfoot decals, it was confirmed that it is in fact Bigfoot by owner of the original monster truck Bob Chandler.
Originally, the part of Katherine, Tango’s sister was to be played by Daphne Ashbrook. She was not supposed to be Tango’s biological sister; possibly an adopted sister, or a foster child his parents took in. But, when they decided to make her his actual sister, they re-cast the role with Teri Hatcher, who slightly resembles Stallone. (I love that they give a shit about the actors looking the same, who cares?)
The tank-like SUV seen in the film (with a windshield shape resembling a 1990s-era Chevrolet Lumina APV minivan) was built from a 1988 Chevrolet K2500 truck. At the time of the film’s release, the vehicle resembled a GM concept (a 1987 Chevrolet Blazer XT-1) which was planned as a crossover-like SUV which was powered with a Chevrolet 4.3L V6 – the engine block and cylinder heads were cast in aluminum alloy. GM did not proceed with the Blazer XT-1 but its styling cues were used with the W-body “Dustbuster” minivans (Lumina, Oldsmobile Silhouette, and Pontiac Trans Sport).
Jack Palance jokingly showed his displeasure about filming this movie while on the tonight show with Jay Leno. He said that when he first got the script he was really excited about doing the movie since he had three nice scenes with Sylvester Stallone, but as soon as filming started all his scenes with Stallone were cut, and he didn’t even see Stallone throughout the entire movie. (That’s kind of sad)
Shortly after this film was released, there was a very lethal “brand” of heroin being sold in The Bronx, New York, NY. It was named “Tango & Cash”. This was stamped on the bags the drugs were contained in. So many addicts overdosed (and died), the NYPD was driving around neighborhoods using loudspeakers to tell people not to use this particular “brand” of heroin. This was reported on all the flagship network TV stations there as well.
Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone, 1990)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Kurt Russell, 1990)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Randy Feldman, 1990)