Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Burt Reynolds|
|Produced by||Jennings Lang|
|Written by||Elmore Leonard
|Distributed by||Universal Studios|
Ernest "Stick" Stickley, a former car thief, has just been released from prison. He meets up with an old friend, Rainy, whose "quick stop" near the Florida Everglades before they go home is an illegal drug deal that goes sour. With his friend dead, Stick needs to hide out for a while to elude the killers (who must eliminate him as a witness).
While lying low, Stick finds himself in the right place at the right time when he helps a wealthy eccentric named Barry get into his locked car. Hired as a driver, he has a comfortable home with a stable job and tries to make up for lost time with Katie, his teen-age daughter. He also finds a new flame in Kyle, a financial consultant who acts as a business adviser for Barry, who must decide what of Stick can be salvaged.
Before he can move on, however, Stick confronts drug dealer Chucky to demand the money owed to his murdered friend. Chucky refuses and sends albino hit-man Moke after the ex-con. Stick can't get on with his new life without cleaning up old business first. He becomes the target of Moke as well as the cartel that employs Chucky, led by the voodoo-obsessed Nestor.
A three-way confrontation on a high-rise balcony ends in Chucky's and Moke's deaths. Stick must then rely on his quick wit and fists to deal with his final enemy, Nestor, who has kidnapped Stick's daughter.
- Burt Reynolds as Ernest "Stick" Stickley
- Candice Bergen as Kyle
- Charles Durning as Chucky
- George Segal as Barry
- Jose Perez as Rainy
- Richard Lawson as Cornell
- Cástulo Guerra as Nestor
- Dar Robinson as Moke
- Tricia Leigh Fisher as Katie
- Sachi Parker as Bobbi
- Jorge Gil as Chucky's Hood
- Armand Grossman Chucky's Hood
- Ignacio Menocal as Nestor's Hood
- Jesus Menocal as Nestor's Hood
- David Cadiente as Nestor's Hood (as Dave Cadiente)
- Gary Carlos Cervantes as Nestor's Hood (as Carlos Cervantes)
- Richard L. Duran as Nestor's Hood
- Thomas Rosales, Jr. as Nestor's Hood
- Bert Rosario as Bodega Owner
"I wanted to make that movie as soon as I read the book," said Reynolds. "I respected Leonard's work. I felt I knew that Florida way of life, having been raised in the state. And I was that guy!"
Famed stuntman Dar Robinson played the albino hit-man, Moke. His character's death scene, falling from the side of a building while firing a gun, uses Robinson's invention, a decelerator, so cameras could film from above without a visible airbag below (a scattering crowd of people below can also be seen in this shot). This was Robinson's first and last acting break (as opposed to pure stunt work). In 1986 he died in an off-set motorcycle accident.
Stick received negative reviews from critics. Despite opening at No. 1 in its first weekend, the film was a box office flop, grossing just $8.5 million when compared to its $22 million budget.
Reynolds recalled "I turned in my cut of the picture and truly thought I had made a good film. Word got back to me quickly that the people in the Black Tower [Universal's head office] wanted a few changes."
The studio pulled the movie from its release schedule and asked Reynolds to reshoot the second half of the film. A new writer was brought in along with a subplot involving his character reuniting with his daughter post-prison. Reynolds says his agent advised him to go along with the changes:
I gave up on the film. I didn't fight them. I let them get the best of me...Leonard saw the film the day he was interviewed for a Newsweek cover and told them he hated it. After his comment, every critic attacked the film and he wouldn't talk to me. When I reshot the film, I was just going through the motions. I'm not proud of what I did, but I take responsibility for my actions. All I can say--and this is not in way of a defense--is if you liked the first part of 'Stick,' that's what I was trying to achieve throughout.