Too bad there’s more method in the acting than the script, as John Badham’s tired action-comedy formula squanders its best moments during the film’s first act and wastes the nifty pairing of James Woods and Michael J. Fox.
Fox is a popular star of action fluff, like Smoking Gunn II, who yearns for a leading role in a film ‘without a Roman numeral in it’. Determined to play a tough street cop, he decides to research the role by partnering New York cop John Moss (Woods), who’s involved in hunting a lunatic serial killer (Stephen Lang).
The film exhausts its best Hollywood in-jokes during the first 20 minutes, with a Penny Marshall cameo as Fox’s agent and lots of lines about cappuccino, personal trainers and Mel Gibson.
After the initial meeting of Fox and Woods, however, the pic degenerates into a series of random melees that will bring the buddies together – and introduce a stale subplot that has the actor helping Moss woo his sort-of girlfriend (Annabella Sciorra) as an added bonus.
Woods is appropriately gruff and nasty as the cop, and his trademark intensity makes a broad target for Fox to play off.