Lately various studios have been releasing films with Gene Hackman onto DVD, films like Scarecrow and Twice in a Lifetime. And after a run in 1983’s Uncommon Valor, he teamed with Matt Dillon (The Flamingo Kid) in 1985’s Target, the proverbial Cold War spy thriller.
Directed by Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde) Walter (Hackman) and Chris Lloyd (Dillon) are a father and son who don’t get along very well, as Walter wants Chris to do something with his …ife, now that he’s dropped out of college. When Donna, Walter’s wife (Chris’ mother) is kidnapped in Paris, Walter and Chris go there to bring her back. In the middle of the trip, Chris learns that Walter is a retired CIA officer, and is perhaps the reason why Donna was kidnapped. He also deals with the shock that Chris has upon finding out about Walter’s past.
At the time of the release, Dillon was the matinee idol who everyone loved to see, and although his performance as Chris wasn’t too bad, it’s the chemistry that he seems to have with Hackman that makes the movie somewhat enjoyable. While the last act of the movie is a little predictable and somewhat anticlimactic, there is yet another good performance from Hackman, one to add to an already crowded resume.
There are Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 audio tracks to choose from. The 2.0 stereo track is the better one to go with, as the explosions and other action scenes include a score that doesn’t pass through many speakers. It’s really more a letdown than anything else.
The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation Target sports is symbolic of some of the better video transfers of the ‘80s. The film grain is present throughout and the transfer is excellent, but the picture quality is missing a certain sharpness. It’s not a huge issue, but there is room for improvement.
It would have been nice to include a featurette or even a commentary track with Penn, but there are no extras on the disc.
Target could have been a better movie, but it’s still not too bad, and considering some of the dreck that shares the genre and era that it was released, it’s fairly decent. But considering the actor and director involved, and their previous works, it’s also a mild disappointment. It’s a recommended rental nonetheless.