Some Kind of Hero is yet another example of how Richard Pryor can take a mediocre film and elevate it to the level of his extraordinary talents.
Something went awry in the adaptation of James Kirkwood’s novel to the screen, for Pryor’s performance is truly a class piece of acting, playing a likable enough fellow who loses everything but his sense of humor during five years in a Vietnamese prison camp.
During this tenure, he establishes a loving friendship with hot-tempered POW Ray Sharkey. When Sharkey becomes deathly ill, Pryor signs a denouncement of US activities in the war to get the North Vietnamese to provide proper medical attention. Action then shifts to Pryor’s return to the US, where the act comes back to haunt him.
Pryor’s only luck is meeting Beverly Hills prostitute Margot Kidder, who gives him some loving encouragement and considers him something more than just another customer.
With Kidder’s role almost as limited as Sharkey’s, latter portion of the story pretty much falls apart as Pryor is torn between good and bad.