When I was in my early teens, I was obsessed with coolness. Probably because I was so far from it. Two actors that I immediately gravitated to were Mickey Rourke and Don Johnson. Don was mainly thanks to Miami Vice, a show I watched religiously with my Dad and loved so much I had a white suit that I didn’t wear anywhere. But I had it. I loved Sonny Crockett, he was badass, good looking, and tough but sensitive. And my admiration of Johnson translated into film as well with flicks like Dead Bang and The Hot Spot. And Mickey Rourke was pretty much the coolest guy in movies. Diner, The Pope of Greenwich Village, Year of the Dragon, 9 ½ Weeks, Angel Heart, Johnny Handsome, Homeboy, Rumble Fish. He was always the coolest guy in the cast, always chilled out and always looking good. So in 1991 when both guys teamed up for Simon Wincer’s Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, I was there.
Harley (Rourke) is a biker. A tough guy who lives on the edge of the law. Marlboro (Johnson) is a cowboy who is no less tough. When the two men learn that a dear friend may lose his bar due to a bank wanting to build a new complex and only 2.5 million dollars can renew the contract, Harley and Marlboro decide to help out by robbing the bank of its own money to pay the tab. But when the wrong transport is robbed and the guys end up with a truckload of a new synthetic drug, they find themselves the target of not only the corrupt bankers but also the mob, hired assassins and law enforcement.
The 80s were a haven for some of the best action movies ever made, but the 90s were pretty great as well. Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man is a fine example. Spectacular on screen chemistry between Rourke and Johnson highlights the film with witty dialogue and comradery akin to a modern day Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. And then there is the action. Over the top highly entertaining action sequences litter the movie with great gimmicks and situations that make for memorable scenes. And then you have the great supporting cast including Chelsea Field, Daniel Baldwin, Giancarlo Esposito, Vanessa Williams, Tia Carrere, Kelly Hu and Tom Sizemore. It all just adds up to one of the most enjoyable action films of the 90s. And the new Shout Factory transfer looks fantastic as well so if you have never gotten around to picking this one up on DVD, now is your chance. Highly recommended.