Friday, October 31, 2014

Cape Fear (1991)

Halloween Movie #3 (This would have been perfect for my salute to Robert De Niro earlier this month). Please click the links to read my Halloween-themed reviews from 2011, 2012 and 2013. 

Synopsis: Southern-fried Travis Bickle gets out of the slammer and goes-a-killin’. 

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Master filmmaker Martin Scorsese brings heart-pounding suspense to one of the most acclaimed thrillers of all time. Fourteen years after being imprisoned, vicious psychopath Max Cady (Robert De Niro) emerges with a single-minded mission: to seek revenge on his attorney Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte). 

What Did I Learn?: Apparently, psychotic lunatics really enjoyed John Ritter’s performance in Problem Child. 

You Might Like This Movie If: You really want to see the movie that spawned both a wonderful episode of The Simpsons AND one of the coolest pro-wrestling villains ever - Waylon Mercy!
Really?: 1) I realize Cady knows exactly how to push Danielle’s buttons, but I had a LOT of trouble believing a 15-year old girl would find a 40-something creep attractive. 2) So, Cady rapes and mutilates Lori in order to scare the shit out of Sam, and maybe drive a wedge between him and his wife? Ok, but how can he be sure Lori won’t press charges against him? That’s a BIG risk. 3) Holy shit, who is Cady – Rasputin’s illegitimate grandchild? The man is brutally beaten with iron bars, and somehow manages to get up and fight off his attackers? Or he’s horribly burned, jumps into a river during a horrible storm, and somehow gets back into the houseboat to once again terrorize the Bowdens? Come on….

Rating: I have to give Cape Fear something of a mixed review. The film certainly contains its share of thrills and chills, De Niro is at the top of his game as the thoroughly evil Cady, and Cape Fear boasts a VERY impressive cast, including Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum and Martin Balsam from the original. Thing is, I’m not sure why Scorsese felt the need to remake the 1962 classic; Cady’s big scene with Lori (Iliana Douglas) is nearly unwatchable, and the plot quickly gets stuck in a tedious pattern: Sam tries to get the better of Cady; Cady proves he’s a lot smarter and tougher than Sam thinks, and the whole thing backfires. Repeat. 6.5/10 stars.

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