MOVIE REVIEW | Stakeout (1987)

Stakeout“Isn’t love great, Chris? One minute you’re a god, the next minute you’re a scum-suckin’ pig.”

When I was a kid, there were things called video shops. And the beauty of video shops, was judging books by their covers. I saw so much shit, and the odd gem, just because it had a cool cover. Then, there were a few movies that made the short list on almost every visit, but would inevitably always be trumped by some flashy new release, or re-hire of Police Academy 3 for the hundredth time. Movies like Don’t Tell Her It’s Me with Steve Guttenberg, and Ghoulies II, the one with little Gremlins rip offs coming up out of a toilet on the cover.


Another cover that always got me interested enough to read the back of the case, but never converted to me actually hiring it, was Stakeout. I still haven’t seen Don’t Tell Her It’s Me, or Ghoulies II, but more than a quarter of a century later, Stakeout can finally be taken off that list.

Bill (Emilio Esteves) and Chris (Richard Dreyfuss) are a couple of cops. Long time partners, Stakeout spares us the overdone story of two mismatched detectives butting heads before realising they make the perfect team. Bill and Chris are already great mates who love working together, and are assigned the night shift, staking out the home off a woman who’s ex-boyfriend has just escaped from prison.

When the woman they expected to be an old fatty turns out to be a smoking hot Madeleine Stowe as Maria, you might not be all that surprised to hear that she becomes a love interest for one of our main characters. What may surprise you, is which of our main cop characters she hooks up with.

It’s 1987, you have current heartthrob Emilio Esteves at your disposal. So of course, what other choice do you have than to make him the loving family man with a wife and young child at home, so Madeleine Stowe can be wooed by the middle aged, nasal voiced, grey haired dwarf that is Richard Dreyfus. But you know what, that was just crazy enough to work. The role reversal kept me on my toes enough to actually stay more engaged with Stakeout than I would have if it’s role allocation was more obvious and by the book.

Stakeout is by no means a great movie, but it did make me nostalgic for a kind of movie that just doesn’t exist anymore. The mid eighties and early nineties were full of movies made for adults. I don’t mean heavy drama, or mature reflections on life that made you think, or prestige Oscar bait. I mean simple, silly action comedies.

They were a little violent, or a little raunchy, or a little filthy in their language, or a little of all of those things. Sort of like watered down versions of Die Hard or Lethal Weapon movies. Now, everything has to be marketable to everyone over 14 from every country in the world. So we get shit like Transformers. But in 1987, a movie like Stakeout could be one of the top grossing movies of the year. I miss those days.

StakeoutWatch the full movie streaming for free HERE
Directed By – John Badham
Written By – Jim Kouf

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