STAKEOUT is an entertaining cop-buddy action-comedy from 1987, landing at #8 among the years hits, shooting it out and lipping it off against competitors Lethal Weapon and Beverly Hills Cop II. Nothing like realism intrudes, but it cooks up fast, efficient and well-performed popcorn fare.
Director John Badham was on a roll with a decade-long string of hits, one of which, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, had given star Richard Dreyfuss one of his best roles. Here Badham puts Dreyfuss, looking good at 40, buddied with Emilio Estevez, 25, one of the more talented of the era’s Brat Packers, and their patter goes smartly rat-a-tat, no matter they’re not at all convincing as detectives. Dreyfuss plays for fun as well with an eye-catching charmer, Madeleine Stowe, in her breakout role at 29. Bad guy is Aidan Quinn, 28, also riding some updraft momentum from this job. Forest Whitaker, 26, peeks in on the sidelines, partner to the likable Dan Lauria, just about to luck out with TVs The Wonder Years. It’s a good group to fiddle away 117 minutes on.
The mix of highly unlikely, sometimes plain silly situations and nasty violence jars somewhat, but that’s the schematic for this type of flick, take it or leave it. Music score from Arthur B. Rubenstein recalls the vibe of the day.
With Earl Billings (breaking tradition for gigs like this by refreshingly playing a police supervisor who doesn’t yell) and Ian Tracey. Charged with $14,500,000, it booked $66,000,000 just on USA home turf. Meaner cops busting head and balls that year included the more serious lawmen of The Untouchables and Extreme Prejudice. A wan sequel limped along in 1993. Madeleine, come back!