Midnight Run-Around” is the second of a series of telepix to resurrect bounty hunter Jack Walsh, who tasted box office success in the film “Midnight Run.” Even with the film’s scripter George Gallo in the fold, this telepic has lost the edge and buddy-type humor that helped the bigscreen version succeed.
Comparisons aside, Christopher McDonald gives a kinetic performance as the can’t-get-a-break Walsh, even though production runs out of gas long before the finale.
McDonald gives the role of Walsh a completely different edge than Robert De Niro did in the movie. There’s the desperation and frustration, but also he brings the self-confidence that gets him into so much trouble.
Plot centers around a bail jumper (Kyle Secor) who bails L.A. for his Oklahoma hometown. Walsh hears of the case and thinks it’s a piece of cake.
Problem is that the assignment is not from his usual bail bondsman, Eddie Moscone (Dan Hedaya). Out of revenge, Moscone sends another bounty hunter, Marvin Dorfler (Ed O’Ross), to sabatoge Walsh’s efforts.
Walsh discovers a bigger problem when he reaches Oklahoma. Seems the whole town is protecting the bail jumper — and the script comes to life for a moment as Walsh’s encounters are something of a comedy version of “Deliverance.”
But the town becomes more silly than sinister and the good moments in the script (by Jerrold E. Brown, Terry Borst and director Frank De Palma) are fleeting. Missing here is any tension between Walsh and his young bail jumper — the exchanges between De Niro and jumper Charles Grodin are what made the original.
Hedaya plays a great bail bondsman and O’Ross is the perfect bumbling bounty hunter.
Robert Draper’s camera work is crisp and colorful, and certain comedic moments under De Palma’s direction are right on, but there’s not enough of them.
The “Midnight Run” vidpix are part of Universal’s “Action Pack” syndicated package, which includes more than 20 original telepix done by a handful of directors housed under the U roof.