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BURT REYNOLDS AS 'MALONE' W/ CYNTHIA GIBB & SCOTT WILSON

Burt Reynolds and Cynthia Gibb YEAR: 1987
Burt Reynolds had a problem in the early-mid 1980's, especially after STROKER ACE. Suddenly, he wasn't a big star anymore, and even faithful fans had pretty much had enough...

What a shame that the action driven films he turned out after his fall from super-stardom were pretty damn great, receiving little attention...

These are MALONE as well as STICK, HEAT and the vastly underrated BREAKING IN. And particularly, in the cases of HEAT and MALONE, it's a shame Burt didn't realize that audiences were on to the toupee, and had been for years. Not since the second SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT has it looked so obvious, but, oh well: MALONE is a nice, tight production that's basically a remake of a classic 1950's Western. "Let's be honest," Reynolds once stated. "The film is SHANE."

Burt Reynolds and Cynthia Gibb in MALONE
The ongoing lustful flirtation by young, cute-as-a-button, girl-next-door ingenue Cynthia Gibb is out of place, although while he might've been too old for the part (Christopher Lambert was originally considered), she's not at all miscast...

As the daughter of Scott Wilson, ironically playing one of the few good guys in his middle-age career, it's daughter and father in their proverbial farmland... including a front-yard gas station that Burt's title character literally pushed his car up to... who provide the essence of a slow-burn action flick, which is actually more of a thriller, since most of what happens is on a perpetual verge. So the director needn't push the suspense since, with a woeful french horn-led score sounding straight out of FIRST BLOOD (modernized only by a random smattering of electric drums), a narrowed and taut platform is set from the very beginning...

Tracey Walter attempts to kill MALONE Rates: ****
A city-centered Malone, who decides against what's obviously yet-another-assassination, exits the CIA, and of course it won't be that easy. Even Burt's partner/lady-friend Lauren Hutton says the usual You-Know-Too-Much as a quote, not a statement...

And within a few scenes he's part of the beautiful and rural, deep, rich forest landscape where ultra-villain Cliff Robertson is not only buying up all the farm and fishing sites, he' s a silly and contrived, ultra-patriotic survivalist with henchman who walk the primal, dusty main street in stiff business suits — a reminder they're corporate bad guys. But Robertson plays the role as a mellow and cunning manipulator and doesn't chew scenery. In fact, he seems nearly as meek and friendly as Scott Wilson's meek and friendly (and crippled) nice guy mechanic. Thankfully, MALONE is too centered and fine-tuned to make any character break from the slow-burn momentum. Which goes for Reynolds' performance as well, who's relaxed even during the few action scenes. But a warning for those who think the new Kino Lorber Blu Ray's Hi-Def transfer will clean up what's about 40% of shoddy, grainy aesthetic. If you want a real improvement from DVD, buy Kino's BUSTING instead.
Cynthia Gibb MALONE Cynthia Gibb MALONE
Cynthia Gibb, Scott Wilson and Burt Reynolds in MALONE
Cynthia Gibb in MALONE
Cynthia Gibb is MALONE
Cynthia Gibb MALONE Cynthia Gibb MALONE
Burt Reynolds and Scott Wilson in MALONE
Cynthia Gibb and Burt Reynolds in MALONE
Books Gardner plays a good cold-blooded henchman in MALONE
Cynthia Gibb in MALONE with Burt Reynolds
Cynthia Gibb Malone Cynthia Gibb
Cliff Robertson is the villain in MALONE
Alfred E. Newman's signature in MALONE with Burt Reynolds
Rest in Peace Scott Wilson and Burt Reynolds together in MALONE (1987)
Dennis Burkely beaten by Burt in MALONE Dennis Burkely
Cynthia Gibb in MALONE Reviewed by James M. Tate
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