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PATRICK SWAYZE & LIAM NEESON IN NEXT OF KIN

year: 1989 cast: Patrick Swayze, Liam Neeson, Bill Paxton, Adam Baldwin, Ben Stiller  rating: ***1/2
An old school action flick in the Sam Peckinpah tradition that puts Patrick Swayze, in a narrow-eyed ready-to-strike ROADHOUSE mode, against seedy odds as Chicago cop Truman Gates, originally from the Sticks and considered white trash to his surly comrades.

His little brother (Bill Paxton) is killed by local mafia goon Adam Baldwin, but Truman plays entirely by the rules as the mob, including a lazy kingpin’s son Ben Stiller, continue to run the town.

Enter scene-stealer Liam Neeson as Swayze’s older sibling, Briar. With the countenance of a feisty badger mixed with a cagy serpentine prowess (imagine Charles Bronson as Daniel Boone), he sets out alone to get bloody revenge against those the law can’t strike.

By far the best scenes have the heavily-armed Neeson taking out mobsters and even leaping from moving trains to survive their retaliation. It really seems like his story rather than Swayze’s... Although the late actor’s dominate arrival on each scene substantiates the theme: that to really fight evil, you have to play your cards with deliberate precision. And while his climatic shootout in a cemetery doesn't quite live up to his brother's creative tactics, NEXT OF KIN is a worthwhile, and better than average, crime/action experience.
Patrick Swayze as Truman Gates
Adam Baldwin makes the perfect heavy
A young Ben Stiller as the mobster's brainy son
BUY DVD ON AMAZON
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