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Peter’s Retro Reviews: Flashpoint (1984)

Flashpoint movie posterby Peter Nielsen

”A wrecked jeep… a skeleton… a rifle… 800,000 dollars in cash.”

Flashpoint was released in Sweden in 1985 and I know my friend, Michael, and I rented it at one point. But I remember next to nothing about it.  So, I went into this movie with no preconceived notions at all, other than a hope that it would be a good one, based on the brilliant cast.

Our two main characters, U.S. Border Patrol agents Bobby Logan and Ernie Wyatt, are played by Kris Kristofferson (Blade, Lone Star) and Treat Williams (Deep Rising, Dead Heat). I’ve always liked Mr. Kristofferson and think he’s a fantastic singer/songwriter as well as a great actor. And since I’m also a fan of Mr. Williams, it was kind of a win/win situation.

At the start of the movie, we see a jeep speeding through the pouring rain. It’s dark, so we can’t see the driver. He apparently can’t see where he’s going, because all of a sudden he goes off the road. Fade to black and skip forward 20 years and we now find ourselves in the shower-room of the U.S. Border Patrol in Texas. Wyatt is sitting in the shower, trying to sober up after a hard night of drinking tequila. He’s not in the best of moods, which doesn’t improve after attending the morning meeting at the station either.

Logan, Wyatt and Sheriff Wells.

Logan, Wyatt and Sheriff Wells.

At the meeting he, along with his fellow agents, is informed of the new equipment made available to them. They are to bury motion detectors all over the area to increase the number of illegal immigrants caught crossing the border. This means that the agents will have to do a lot of extra work burying the devices that will eventually lead to a lot of them losing their jobs.

The fact that most of the remaining agents will be stuck behind a desk staring at a monitor all day is NOT appreciated at all. Their boss, played by Kevin Conway (The Funhouse, Homeboy) tells them he doesn’t care if they like it or not, because that’s how it’s going to be. So, you can kind of understand why Wyatt’s mood doesn’t improve much after this, huh?

While out on patrol, Logan finds the jeep from the start of the movie, buried in the desert. He digs it up and finds a skeleton along with a bag full of money and a case containing a fishing rod and a scoped rifle. He tells Wyatt that the cash could be their ticket out of this dump and that they should just take it and get out of there. Wyatt on the other hand wants to know where it came from, so they give the license-plate number to the local sheriff’s department to check it out. As it turns out, this might not have been the best idea they’ve ever had.

Digging up the jeep

Digging up the jeep

A little while later, federal agent Carson shows up with his men. Officially it’s to check on the motion detectors and to plan a bust on a major drug trafficker. Logan and Wyatt take an instant dislike to Carson and don’t really trust him. He’s played by the awesome Kurtwood Smith, whom you might recognize from Robocop or from TV’s That 70’s Show.

And we all know he’s not there for the damn sensors nor the drugs, don’t we? He’s there because of the jeep, of course, and all of a sudden it’s dug up and the surrounding area guarded by the military which won’t let anyone near the site.

This makes Logan and Wyatt wonder what the hell’s up with this jeep and who the driver was and why the hell he was driving around with 800.000 dollars in cash. And… what has the rifle been used for? What is the secret that the government is obviously trying to cover up?

This needs to be laundered, wouldn't you agree?

This needs to be laundered, wouldn’t you agree?

As I stated earlier, I remembered nothing about Flashpoint, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was a great thriller and I liked it a lot! There are a bunch of great actors in it too, which makes it feel more natural.

Apart from the aforementioned, you might also recognize Rip Torn (Men In Black, Extreme Prejudice, The Beastmaster) as Sheriff Wells and in the role as Roget, one of the Border Patrol agents, we have Miguel Ferrer (Robocop, Night Flier).

In a small part as a loner living in a trailer in the middle of nowhere, I’m sure you’ll recognize Mr. Roberts Blossom. He’s had bit parts in a number of movies… he was a small-town judge in Doc Hollywood and the “creepy” neighbor that Macaulay Culkin’s character was afraid of in Home Alone.

We're with the Border Patrol, ma'am. We don't have any balls!

We’re with the Border Patrol, ma’am. We don’t have any balls!

The score for Flashpoint was done by Tangerine Dream and is awesome except for the end song. The director, William Tannen (Hero and the Terror, Inside Edge), asked the group to score all the music except for that one, because he had a song by The Rolling Stones in mind for that.

But when push came to shove, the studio felt that that would be too expensive and instead gave the job to one of the producer’s assistants with the result that the end song is now complete and utter crap!

Flashpoint is not just a great thriller, there’s a little bit of humor thrown in too. Mainly in the conversations between Wyatt and Logan and it feels genuine, without being contrived. You get the feeling that they’re actually good friends.

The humor is also evident in the scene where they meet Doris and Ellen, played by Jean Smart, who’s done a lot of TV work and Tess Harper from Her Alibi. They find the two women sleeping in their car one morning and when the two agents wake them up, Doris asks them if they’re there to sell them tickets to the Policemen’s Ball, or something. To which Logan wryly answers: “We’re with the Border Patrol ma’am. We don’t have any balls.”

And that’s what I’ll leave you with this week, ladies and gentlemen. Please leave any thoughts on this movie in the comment section below!

Until next time, my friends…


About Peter Nielsen

Peter was born in Denmark in 1968, but moved to Sweden at the age of six, (not by himself of course), and has lived there ever since. He’s married and has five children, so spare time is somewhat of a luxury. His main interests in life, apart from his family, are long walks, books and movies. Any movie! He has preferences, but he’s not particular as long as it's good or... so bad it's good... he just LOVES MOVIES!