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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Tango & Cash (Blu-ray)
Tango & Cash (Blu-ray)
Warner Bros. // R // April 7, 2009 // Region A
List Price: $28.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted April 28, 2009 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Tango & Cash may not have set the box office on fire or won over critics when it hit theaters in 1989, but it's justifiably earned itself a pretty decent cult following over the last two decades and for good reason. Few movies of the era represent the 'big' action movie as well as this one, and that's saying something when you consider the competition that this picture has running against it. Directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, Tango & Cash might be built around a series of longstanding action movie clichés more than it is around anything even remotely resembling an original plot, but it doesn't matter - this is pure action movie fun in the truest and best sense possible.

The film follows a Los Angeles Police Department narcotics officer named Ray Tango (Sylvester Stallone) whose got a penchant for slick wardrobe and investment banking and another LAPD narc named Gabriel Cash (Kurt Russell) who is pretty much his exact opposite with his torn jeans and messy hair. These two are like oil and water, they just don't mix well and despite a common interest, they don't really get along. That said, they're also the two best cops in the department, which brings them unwanted attention from a drug lord named Yves Perret (Jack Palance) who decides to get rid of these thorns in his side by framing them for the murder of an undercover federal agent.

Perret's plan works and before you know it, Tango and Cash are in some pretty deep trouble. Perret, who plans to have the cops murdered while in prison, has another thing coming, however as Tango and Cash accept a plea bargain and wind up in a minimum security facility. Perret's got connections, however, and he soon has them transferred to a maximum security pen where his thugs lay the screws to our two heroes. With their lives in danger and wanting to clear their names, Tango and Cash form an unlikely alliance and decide to bust out of the big house and set things right. Complicating matters further, however, is the presence of Tango's foxy younger sister, Kiki (Teri Hatcher), who soon becomes the apple of Cash's eye.

Big, dumb and loud, Tango & Cash is a literal blast of a film that lets Stallone and Russell use their considerable screen presence to play off of one another. A typical 'buddy cop' movie in a lot of ways, it isn't a film that's high on originality but it is a picture that somehow manages to get a lot of mileage out of pretty much every action movie cliché you would care to name. That said, there's half the fun of the film right there, and the clichés tend to become so fun that you more or less become immune to it.

Of course, in and amongst all the shoot outs, fights, explosions and chases are the two leading men, veritable titans of eighties action cinema, both of whom bring their best to the picture. Stallone may not be the first guy who comes to mind when you think 'sophisticated financial type with fancy suits' but he fits the part quite well here and brings just the right amount of snobbish attitude to his Ray Tango to make it work. Russell, on the other hand, excels at playing lower class ruffian types - he was great when he did it in Big Trouble In Little China and he's great when he does it here, this is one of those roles that the actor was born to play and he really does a fine job of it. The pair work well together and have a very infectious chemistry in this film that winds up sucking you in whether you want it to or not. Casting the great Jack Palance as the heavy compliments things quite perfectly, as he delivers exactly the type of performance you'd want out of him - sly, sneaky, and sinister, while a young Teri Hatcher provides some welcome eye candy, preventing the film from becoming a complete and utter sausage fest.

Non-stop violence, witty back and forth banter, and hissable bad guys might not be hard to come by in action movie territory but rarely do the add up to as good a time at the movies as they do with Tango & Cash. If ever there was a movie that really did require you to completely turn off your brain, only to reward you with thrills, chills, laughs and action galore this is it.

The Video:

Tango & Cash looks very impressive in this 2.40.1 VC-1 encoded 1080p anamorphic widescreen transfer. Contrast looks spot on and detail is noticeably better than the SD release pretty much instantly in both close up shots as well as long distance and medium shots. Explosions look nice and bright without ever bleeding while dark scenes are inky and deep with great shadow detail that never overwhelms the more subtle tones hiding within. Whites are warm and hot without ever feeling over baked while reds are strong and don't leak or bleed at all. There is some minor edge enhancement that you might notice if you're really looking for it as well as a bit of background noise evident in some lighter scenes, but these are minor complaints against what is otherwise a very strong effort on the part of Warner Brothers.

The Audio:

Warner has supplied an English language Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Mix and a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound mix as well as optional subtitles in ADD LANGUAGES HERE. As far as the quality of the audio is concerned, obviously the TrueHD mix gets the edge in terms of punch and clarity but both tracks suffer from a predominantly front heavy mix. Rears spring to life only occasionally, intermittently throwing in some sound effects during the rain storm and playing with the score a bit. The explosions, shoot outs and action scenes that you would hope to be bombarded with from all channels really only ever truly hits from the front speakers. The end result is a bit disappointing in that it could have been more enveloping than it is, but that said, there's nothing to complain about here in terms of clarity of quality. Dialogue is easy enough to understand at any given point in the film, bass response is alright even if it could have been a little more forceful, and the levels are properly balanced. The mix that is here is fine, but it will leave audiophiles wanting more...

The Extras:

The only extra included on this disc, aside from the mandatory menu and chapter selection sub-menu, is a fun theatrical trailer that surprisingly enough includes some brief moments that were not actually used in the finished version of the film. Aside from that, however, this release is pretty much barebones.


The lack of any real extra features is a disappoint but Tango & Cash still entertains all these years later and the markedly improved transfer on this Blu-ray release may be reason enough for some fans to upgrade from the previous (and lackluster) SD DVD. The movie might not be deep but it sure is a lot of fun. Recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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