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Written by / 2/20/2016 / No comments / , , , , , , , , ,

BURT LANCASTER & KIRK DOUGLAS STARRING IN 'TOUGH GUYS'

Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas fresh outta prison in TOUGH GUYS Year: 1986
With loads of "what were we thinking" hindsight, you'd think TOUGH GUYS was made decades after the glossy decade it parodies: But the heist/comedy starring old time movie stars Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas takes place in the horrendously colorful midst of the 1980's, celebrated through stunned perspective/mockery of the Reagan Era's loudness, from clothes to music to... just about everything...

All under the stunned, fish-out-of-water perspective of gray-suited ex-cons Harry Doyle and Archie Long, played by polar opposites Lancaster and Douglas, who were never caught until robbing a train in 1955... their very own choo-choo Waterloo...
Kirk Douglas tries on 1980's clothes in the 1980's TOUGH GUYS
Starting with an opening credit Kenny Rogers' imitating Lionel Richie tune while showing the boys in their cell, almost freed, leading to an ongoing techno score sounding like a low-rent Harold Faltermeyer, playing even when the boys reminisce upon the good, or rather, bad old days...

Not only don't we get a touch of the Film Noir/Crime Era past, there's simply no escaping the decade in which they've been released into, on parole, which turns out almost worse than prison...
Kirk Douglas tries on 1980's clothes in the 1980's TOUGH GUYS
The mellow, reposeful Lancaster is sent to an old age home where the food is awful and bedtime's at 10pm, and yet he still conveniently reunites with his old flame who leads a few exercise classes, while Douglas's maverick story plays more to the comedic male fantasy element: First his moody temperament gets him canned from a few dire jobs, either busing tables full of angry customers to selling Penguins yogurt...

Unlike his more realistic older-acting buddy, Kirk's Archie lands a girl half his age (Darlanne Fluegel), ultimately getting worn out by the abundance of late night sexercise. In a nut-shell, TOUGH GUYS is a cross between COCOON and STRAIGHT TIME.
Kirk Douglas tries on 1980's clothes in the 1980's TOUGH GUYS
Meanwhile, with their "old gang" out of commission, including a crippled Billy Barty and a crazy Simmy Bow, the duo are being violently stalked, hunted by a shotgun-wielding, lunatic hit-man that neither ex-con has seen before and, not surprisingly given his talent and eclectic career, Eli Wallach is pretty darn scary (albeit sometimes rather annoying).

For a buddy flick, TOUGH GUYS isn't too shabby, and has most of its soul in Lancaster's character while Douglas, genuinely built like a real ass kicker, plays the "when men were men" Alpha Male, igniting his worn-out partner to help pull-off an impossible caper...
Kirk Douglas tries on 1980's clothes in the 1980's TOUGH GUYS
Which they failed at before: robbing the same train from thirty years ago, that just happens to be making its final run. This is where the eclectic montage of breezy comedy ends and we're stuck with a resolution that rushes towards inevitable finality: the boys making their dreams come true along with a young, helpful, pre-SNL Dana Carvey as a nostalgia-driven fan who's also their parole officer...

At this point, the rushed train "robbery" is action-packed and full of surprisingly big-budget 11th hour explosions as pretty much everything and everyone collide into predictable bedlam...
Kirk Douglas tries on 1980's clothes in the 1980's TOUGH GUYS
Including the blood-thirsty Wallach and an entirely unlikable Charles Durning as the cop who busted them the first time, wanting revenge for his desk job and to be taken as seriously as our heroes desire for a newspaper headline comeback...

But close your eyes during the last literal minute, fading out on a freeze-frame of the characters after an abundantly vapid freeze-frame moment, which is, unlike the rest of the laidback venture, as bad as it gets.
Kirk Douglas tries on 1980's clothes in the 1980's TOUGH GUYS
Kirk Douglas tries on 1980's clothes in the 1980's TOUGH GUYS
Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas fresh outta prison in TOUGH GUYS
Darlanne Fluegel as Skye in TOUGH GUYS with Kirk Douglas
Lip-biting Darlanne Fluegel as Skye in TOUGH GUYS with Kirk Douglas
Darlanne Fluegel as Skye in TOUGH GUYS with Kirk Douglas
Darlanne Fluegel as Skye in TOUGH GUYS with Kirk Douglas
Darlanne Fluegel as Skye in TOUGH GUYS with Kirk Douglas
The Red Hot Chili  Peppers in TOUGH GUYS circa 1986
The Red Hot Chili  Peppers in TOUGH GUYS circa 1986
Darlanne Fluegel as Skye in TOUGH GUYS with Kirk Douglas
Darlanne Fluegel as Skye in TOUGH GUYS with Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas wearing the greatest T-shirt ever in TOUGH GUYS
Burt Lancaster looking young again facing Charles Durning in Tough Guys
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