Shout Factory has been cranking out some truly kick ass double features lately. While a good chunk of them have been in the horror genre, there have also been some others that should be given some attention. Earlier this year we were treated to some great doubles including Breakin’/Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, Love at First Bite/Once Bitten, High Spirits/Vampire’s Kiss, and I Escaped from Devil’s Island/The Final Option. This week they have been gracious enough to give us the Blu-ray debut of two great Mickey Rourke movies, The Pope of Greenwich Village and Desperate Hours.
The Pope of Greenwich Village is the story of Charlie (Rourke) and his troubled cousin Paulie (Eric Roberts) who get fired from restaurant jobs after Paulie skims checks. Now left with no source of income, Paulie hatches a scheme to steal $150,000 from safe of a local business. But when the heist goes wrong and a police officer is accidentally killed, Charlie and Paulie have nowhere to run with the local Mafia boss and corrupt New York City cops after them.
The Pope of Greenwich Village is one of those great character dramas that came out of the mid-80s. Rourke is at the top of his game here having already starred in Diner and Rumble Fish and on the verge of starring in Year of the Dragon, 9 ½ Weeks and Angel Heart. He is excellent in this one and the chemistry between him and Eric Roberts, who hadn’t really been in much besides Star 80 at this point, is very good. They really seem to be guys who have known each other forever. This is one of those films I like to call ‘neighborhood movies’, which are among my favorite kinds of dramas. A great movie and a welcome addition to Blu-ray.
Desperate Hours was released in 1990 and was one of the final films of Rourke’s before he left Hollywood for his boxing career. Rourke plays Michael Bosworth, a psychotic ex-con about to go on trial who seduces his lawyer to help him escape. Needing a place to meet up after the escape, Bosworth randomly chooses to take over the quiet suburban home of Tim and Nora Cornell (Anthony Hopkins and Mimi Rogers) and their two kids. Now the innocent family must bide their time and figure out how to deal with the insane Bosworth and live to tell the tale.
Desperate Hours is a remake of a 1955 William Wyler film of the same name and is directed by Michael Cimino, one of my favorite underrated directors. It is a taut and frightening thriller full of exceptional performances by all involved. Rourke’s Bosworth is truly a terrifying villain. He is cold, calculating and vicious but sees himself as a mannered and polite man. Hopkins and Rogers are also very good as the couple who were seeking a divorce because of the husband’s infidelity. And in one of the first roles I ever really noticed him in, David Morse is superb as the half-witted cohort of Bosworth’s. Overall this is just a solid thriller that you can’t go wrong with. And both films look fantastic on Blu-ray with new transfers that are a far cry from their previous DVD incarnations. Highly recommended. Now if only Shout would pick up Year of the Dragon and A Prayer for the Dying…