Tango & Cash
|Tango & Cash|
|Directed by||Andrei Konchalovsky
|Produced by||Peter Guber
|Written by||Randy Feldman|
|Music by||Harold Faltermeyer|
|Cinematography||Donald E. Thorin|
|Edited by||Hubert C. de la Bouillerie
Robert A. Ferretti
The Guber-Peters Company
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Running time||104 minutes|
|Budget||$55 million |
|Box office||$63,408,614 (US) |
Tango & Cash is a 1989 American buddy cop action comedy film directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, although Albert Magnoli took over in the later stages of filming, and starring Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Jack Palance and Teri Hatcher. The film was released in the United States on December 22, 1989.
The film describes the struggle of two rival LAPD narcotics detectives Ray Tango and Gabriel Cash, who are forced to work together after criminal mastermind, Yves Perret, frames them for murder.
Beverly Hills LAPD Lieutenant Ray Tango (Sylvester Stallone) and Downtown Los Angeles Lieutenant Gabriel Cash (Kurt Russell) have earned themselves a reputation for disrupting crime lord Yves Perret's smuggling operation in their respective jurisdictions. One day, both of them are informed of a drug deal taking place later that night. Both detectives meet each other for the first time at the location, but discover a dead body that is wire-tapped before the FBI arrive and surround the duo. Agent Wyler (Lewis Arquette) finds Cash's backup Walter PPK pistol on the floor with a silencer attached and arrests both Cash and Tango. At their murder trial, Tango and Cash are incriminated by an audio tape, secretly given to Wyler by Perret's henchman Requin and verified in court by an audio expert, which appears to reveal them shooting the undercover FBI agent after discussing a drug purchase. They plead no contest to a lesser charge in exchange for reduced sentences in a minimum-security prison, but are transported to a maximum-security prison to be housed with many of the criminals they arrested in the past.
Once in prison, Tango and Cash are rousted from their bunks and tortured by Requin and a gang of prisoners until Matt Sokowski, the assistant warden and Cash's former commanding officer, rescues them. Sokowski recommends that they escape and provides them with a plan, but Tango refuses to go along with it. When Cash tries to escape, he finds Sokowski murdered and is attacked by prisoners. Tango rescues him and the duo escape. Once outside the prison walls, they proceed to go their separate ways when Tango tells Cash that should he need to contact him, he is to go to the Cleopatra Club and look for Katherine.
The detectives then visit the witnesses who framed them in court. Wyler admits to Tango that Requin was in charge of the setup, and Cash discovers that Skinner, the audio expert, made the incriminating tape himself. Cash finds Katherine, who helps him escape the night club as police move in on him. Later that night, Tango reunites with Cash, who discovers that Katherine is Tango's younger sister. The duo are met at Katherine's house by Tango's commanding officer, Schroeder, who gives them Requin's address and tells them they have 24 hours to find out who Requin works for. Tango and Cash apprehend Requin and trick him into telling them Perret's name. Armed with a high-tech assault vehicle loaned to them by Cash's weapons expert friend Owen, the duo storm into Perret's headquarters to confront the crime lord. At this point, Perret, who has kidnapped Katherine, starts a timer that will trigger the building's automatic self-destruct procedure. After killing Perret's core security personnel, Tango and Cash are confronted by Requin, who is holding Katherine at knifepoint but throws her aside to fight the detectives hand-to-hand with the help of another henchman. The detectives defeat the two henchmen and when Perret appears, holding a gun to Katherine's head, they kill him and leave with Katherine just before the building explodes. Afterward, they joke half-seriously about Cash's desire to date Katherine before they have themselves vindicated the next day.
- Sylvester Stallone as Lt. Ray Tango
- Kurt Russell as Lt. Gabriel Cash
- Teri Hatcher as Katherine "Kiki" Tango
- Jack Palance as Yves Perret
- Brion James as Requin
- Geoffrey Lewis as Captain Schroeder
- Eddie Bunker as Captain Holmes
- James Hong as Quan
- Marc Alaimo as Lopez
- Michael J. Pollard as Owen
- Robert Z'Dar as "The Jaw"
- Lewis Arquette as Federal Agent Wyler
- Roy Brocksmith as Federal Agent Davis
- Richard Fancy as Nolan (Tango & Cash's Lawyer)
- Michael Jeter as Skinner (the audio expert)
- Clint Howard as "Slinky" (Tango's cellmate)
- Benny Urquidez as Thug (uncredited)
The production was beset with problems from its very inception. Firstly, Patrick Swayze who was originally cast as Cash dropped out and went to star in Road House (1989), then principal photography began without a completed script. Sylvester Stallone, infamous for his bad ego, had the original director of photography Barry Sonnenfeld fired because Stallone felt he wasn't being lit to satisfaction. Donald E. Thorin, who shot Stallone's earlier movie that year, Lock Up (1989), was Sonnenfeld's replacement. Then after nearly three months of filming director Andrei Konchalovsky was fired by producer Jon Peters in a dispute over the movie's ending, and was replaced with Albert Magnoli who filmed all the chase and fight scenes in the ending. In his book of memoirs, Konchalovsky says that the reason he was fired was because he wanted to give the film a more serious tone than the producers wanted, and as such, his relationship with Peters became untenable. Konchalovsky however had nothing but praise for Sylvester Stallone, who he states was a constant voice of reason on the set. Production sources said that Konchalovsky had been given impossible scheduling demands and was then made the scapegoat when he fell behind.
There was also a legal battle between producers Peter Guber and Jon Peters and Warner Bros. studio. Guber and Peters complained in Los Angeles Superior Court that Warner had replaced them on the project and, over Peters' objections, "advanced the release date of the film by many months."
Movie went into production in June, directors were changed in late August, and after principal photography was finished in September replacement director Magnoli called everyone back to the set for two more weeks of additional re-shoots. Filming was finally finished on October 20, 1989, eight weeks before its original scheduled theatrical opening in 1600 theatres across the United States.
Behind the scenes problems which included filming, script changes, and later constant cuts and re-editing of the movie were so big and bad that one of the more experienced crew members said in interview; ""This was the worst-organized, most poorly prepared film I've ever been on in my life. From the first day we started, no one knew what the hell anyone was doing." Same crew member also mentioned some reasons why director Konchalovsky was fired; "He found himself in over his head. There were scenes scheduled for three days that were so complicated they should have been scheduled for six or seven days. They were trying to do a 22-week movie in 11 weeks."
The film ultimately went over $20 million over-budget, and had to be completely re-edited by editor Stuart Baird prior to its theatrical release. Tango & Cash was one of many films to be turned over to Baird, who came onto the project as an editing "doctor" when studios such as Warner Bros. were displeased with the first cut turned in by the filmmakers. Baird was also called in by Warner Bros to re-edit another Stallone action movie Demolition Man (1993) for the same reasons. After Baird was brought in by Warner Brothers to literally save the movie in editing room, it was he who hired Hubert de La Bouillerie to edit the film and Harold Faltermeyer and Gary Chang to compose the music. Chang provided additional music near the ending of the movie because Faltermeyer could not return to re-score the final reel of the film as it was constantly being edited because Warner Bros. kept complaining on cut after cut of it. Because of the massive re-editing, some plot parts and even some action scenes were deleted.
The theatrical trailer was made by using the footage and scenes from one of the earlier cuts of the movie. This is why it shows some deleted and alternate scenes which were changed or cut from the movie during the re-editing; alternate cut of the scene where Tango and Cash first meet in warehouse, alternate cut of shower scene between Tango and Cash, deleted or alternate fight scene between Cash and Chinese assassin during which Cash says "I hate you karate guys", and a deleted scene in which Tango is reading the newspapers and then pulls out Spas 12 shotgun at someone and shoots at some car with it. The trailer also shows extra shots from some other scenes.
The film's title during production was "The Set Up".
The climatic battle in the quarry was shot in a real quarry east of downtown LA, in Irwindale. Every shot in the sequence was shot with a minimum of 11 cameras, as some of the setups were so dangerous, the stunt team was only allowed to do it once.
During the scene where the back of the SUV ignites, the fire wouldn't go out when filming was over, and actors Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone were caught in a cross draft. Stallone was so close to the fire that his hair was singed in places.
The glasses worn by Sylvester Stallone for the early parts of the film are his own and not just a fake prop (he usually wears contact lenses in his films). If you look closely, the glasses indicates he's quite near-sighted on one eye but not so on the other.
When Tango and Cash escape from the prison, Cash turns to Tango and asks if he stopped "for coffee and a Danish." Tango (Sylvester Stallone) says, "I hate Danish," an in-joke referring to his recent divorce from Danish actress Brigitte Nielsen.
When Brion James was originally hired to play Requin, it was a very small role with only two lines. In an effort to give the character something that would make him stand out, James decided to speak in a cockney accent. Sylvester Stallone loved it, and rewrote the script to give Requin a much bigger role.
- "Best of What I Got" - Bad English
- "Let the Day Begin" - The Call
- "Don't Go" - Yazoo
- "Poison" - Alice Cooper
- "It's No Crime" - Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds
- "Harlem Nocturne" - Darktown Strutters
The soundtrack was never released, as the songs were already released on the artists' albums.
The film received negative reviews. One bad review came from The New York Times, which criticized the plot, the screenplay, and the acting. It maintains a 34% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 41 reviews with the consensus: "Brutally violent and punishingly dull, this cookie-cutter buddy cop thriller isn't even fun enough to reach 'so bad it's good' status".
Tango & Cash was also given three 1989 Golden Raspberry Awards nominations for Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone), Worst Supporting Actress (Kurt Russell in drag) and Worst Screenplay, but did not win.
- "Tango & Cash - Box Office Data". The Numbers. Retrieved 2011-07-24.
- Broeske, Pat H. (1989-11-01). "Movies: Guber-Peters and Warner Bros. court filings put a spotlight on the troubled "Tango and Cash," an action film that is racing the clock to make its Dec. 15 release.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- "Review/Film; Stallone And Russell As Buddies," Janet Maslin, The New York Times, December 22, 1989
- Wilmington, Michael (1989-12-22). "Tango and Cash: A Buddy Film Gone Bad". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- "Delirious `Tango & Cash` Proves To Be Really Weird". Chicago Tribune. 1989-12-22. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- Hunt, Dennis (1990-07-05). "Tango and Cash' Waltzes to 4th Spot". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- Thompson, Anne (1990-01-11). "Record Year For Films Ends With A Plunge". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- Tango & Cash at the Internet Movie Database
- Tango & Cash at AllMovie
- Tango & Cash at Box Office Mojo
- Tango & Cash at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Life and Art of Vern Article; June 21, 2009