Nothing to write home about in this remake. Richard Price's script is typically funny-tough, but the structuring is aimless and the characters psychologically nowhere. Motormouth shyster lawyer Harry Fabian (De Niro) is humiliated in court by big shot boxing promoter Boom Boom (King), and decides to take revenge by recruiting Boom Boom's retired brother Al (Warden) and promoting some bouts of his own. He turns to his married mistress, bartender Helen (Lange), for the financing, but everything he touches plunges him deeper into trouble. None of this makes any sense (Fabian cheats Helen with a bogus liquor licence, for instance, and she doesn't complain). Worst of all, Fabian is issued with all the inner depths of a DJ, and we're expected to care about his ambitions. The hopes of no-hopers in film noir rendered up a piteous bouquet, but there's none of that here. Even De Niro can't do much with the role, beyond yammering and dancing on the spot like a warmed-over version of his Johnny Boy in Mean Streets. (From the novel by Gerald Kersh.
Cast and crew
Robert De Niro Jessica Lange Cliff Gorman Alan King Jack Warden Eli Wallach Barry Primus Gene Kirkwood Richard Price