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Tough Guys

They're Out To Teach A New World Some Old Tricks.
Tough Guys
Harry Doyle (Lancaster) and Archie Lang (Douglas) are two old-time train robbers, who held up a train in 1956 and have been incarcerated for thirty years. After serving their time, they are released from jail and have to adjust to a new life of freedom. Harry and Archie realize that they still have the pizzazz when, picking up their prison checks at a bank, they foil a robbery attempt. Archie, who spent his prison time pumping himself up, easily picks up a 20-year-old aerobics instructor. Harry, on the other hand, has to waste away his days in a nursing home. They both have festering resentments -- Archie for having to endure a humiliating job as a busboy; Harry for having to endure patronizing attitudes toward senior citizens. The two old pals finally go back to what they know best. After successfully robbing an armored car, they decide to rob the same train that they robbed thirty years ago.


John Chard
I'm Peter Pan. I've come to take you to Never-Never Land, okay? But you won't be comin' back! Tough Guys is directed by Jeff Kanew and written by James Orr and Jim Cruickshank. It stars Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Charles Durning, Eli Wallach, Dana Carvey, Darlanne Fluegel, Alexis Smith and Monty Ash. Music is by James Newton Howard and cinematography is by King Baggot. Two elderly gangsters are released from prison only to find they have trouble fitting in as old men in a world that has changed considerably - but they still aren't going to take no crap from anyone! "Couldn't take it anymore. People treating me like dirt ever since I got out of jail. Sweeping out toilets, scraping crud off dishes, my girlfriend tryin' to kill me with sex - and I'm dressing like Bozo the Clown, just to fit in! I don't want to fit in anymore" You have to know the actors on show to fully get the glint they have in their eyes, Douglas, Lancaster and Wallach are having a grand time of things. As they exude machismo and world weary knowing in old bodies, turning quips and exasperation into a filmic art form, there's much fun mined out of this particular fish out of water piece. It's all very nostalgic and fanciful of course, and some of the more weightier themes such as treatment of senior citizens struggles to make a bigger mark, but it is charming. How can you not like the good old boys turning the tables on would be muggers and robbers? Rejoice as myopic hitman Wallach tries to enact a "hit" he was hired to do 30 years earlier! Maybe better use could have been made of the talent on show? Maybe? But this is no disaster and fans of the stars can get much from watching these good old boys go about entertaining for our pleasure. 6/10

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