52 Pick-Up [DVD] USED

Type: Used Movies

Adapting Elmore Leonard's novels for the big screen has often proved to be a hit-or-miss proposition (Get Shorty and Jackie Brown are notable exceptions), but director John Frankenheimer is mostly on the mark with 52 Pick-Up. Leonard also co-wrote the screenplay, which stars Roy Scheider as Harry Mitchell, a businessman whose life is turned upside down when he's videotaped in flagrante delicto with his very young mistress (Kelly Preston); he's then approached by three bad guys (John Glover as vile ringleader Alan, Clarence Williams III as menacing gunman Bobby, and Robert Trebor as sweaty, nebbishy Leo), who demand big bucks from Harry in return for the tape. That's the plan, anyway. But Harry fights back. He confesses all to his long-suffering wife (Ann-Margret, fine in an underwritten part) and refuses to go the cops in order to protect her burgeoning political career; he's also unwilling to hand over the money, choosing instead to take on the villains, whose own mistrust of one another makes Harry's mission easier. All the elements one might expect are on display (including kidnapping, murder, and blackmail), coated with a patina of sleaze that features ample nudity (the bad guys also happen to be pornographers), profanity, and fairly graphic violence. Still, for all its arch tone, pithy dialogue, and a plot twist here and there, 52 Pick-Up lacks the full measure of subtlety, tension, and excitement that would make it really good, instead of merely serviceable. The DVD includes no bonus material. --Sam Graham