Off Limits - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Off Limits Reviews

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cancercapricorn2002
Super Reviewer
½ June 16, 2010
Even though its set during the Vietnam war Off Limits is first and foremost a genuine cop thriller, set in a hellish environment torn apart through warfare, and an effectively disturbing portrait of the horrible issues caused by American soldiers outside of the battlefields. McGriff and Perkins have the worst jobs in the world, since they're employed as army police officers in Saigon and responsible to investigate the crimes committed by American soldiers. One day they're assigned to investigate the murder of a Vietnamese prostitute who had a child with an American soldier. They quickly discover this isn't the first gruesome crime of its kind, as no less than seven similar cases were reported during the past year and they're clearly the work of a serial killer with a strict modus operandi. The devoted and headstrong duo also discovers that the previous officer prematurely quit his investigation even though he came fairly close to capturing the killer, undoubtedly because several high ranked officers got involved and his own life became endangered. McGriff and Perkins, however, are determined to stop to sadist killer, especially when they receive help from a beautiful and street-wise young novice. "Off Limits" is a fast-paced, suspense and frequently very violent thriller with a screenplay that is full of misleading twists, false leads and red herrings, like a legitimate and compelling whodunit thriller ought to be. Some sequences are even downright fantastic, for instance the helicopter-interrogation (Scott Glenn is sublime) or the nail-biting scene where the copper duo is surrounded by a mob of furious and vengeful Vietnamese people. Christopher Crowe's direction is tight and consequently surefooted ? which is quite remarkable for a debut feature ? and his own script is *almost* completely devoid of dreadful clichés and irritating stereotypes. I do emphasize the word 'almost' because a Vietnam movie without mad-raving American officers and/or foul-mouthed Vietnamese prostitutes is practically unthinkable. Dafoe and Hines provide some terrific on screen chemistry, but they certainly aren't your typical witty interracial buddies like Eddie Murphy & Nick Nolte in "48 Hours" or Mel Gibson & Danny Glover in "Lethal Weapon". They tease and provoke each other all the time, but the atmosphere of the film and the nature of the events are simply to austere to mix with comedy. The film is beautifully shot and has a marvelous soundtrack filled with timeless contemporary songs from James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Arthur Resnick. "Off Limits" is a terrific and incomprehensibly overlooked film. If you have the opportunity to watch it, please do so without hesitation.
½ February 5, 2016
This was the second half of a DVD double feature and I wasn't sure what I was getting into, but it turned out to be a very watchable murder mystery set in Saigon during the Vietnam war.

Worth a rental.
Super Reviewer
December 1, 2010
The only good thing I can say about this movie is its a cop movie set in Vietnam but other then that, Thats it.Within the 1st 10 minutes of the movie I figured out who the killer was.Yay for me
½ June 28, 2010
"Off Limits" was a very entertaining, suspenseful, and all around fun action packed mystery. This movie truly kept me on the edge of my seat, and both Willem Dafoe and Gregory Hines were great in this movie.

Basically Dafoe and Hines play Army police officers during the Vietnam War in Saigon. A murder of a prostitute takes place, and the two cops find out that it's related to similar murders at different times, and the person who killed these women is high-ranking. So the whole film is like "catch the bad guy" and in this film it works very well.

It was just really fun to watch these two actors try to solve the mystery. Some scenes are a little ridiculous in the drama, for instance some co-stars might have really atrocious acting skills, but other than that everything was alright in the acting department. Basically what I'm saying is, that Dafoe and Hines were great, but it was a tossup for the rest of the cast.

I really liked the action in this film. A lot of the car chases and what have you, are filmed extremely well. The camera is placed perfectly in a lot of these scenes, making it easy for me to stay attentive, and have a lot of fun with it at the same time. This mixed in with some good dialogue from Dafoe and Hines (not the ridiculous lines by the rest of the cast..) made the movie very entertaining for me.

So all in all, "Off Limits" was a pretty good movie. There were a couple of ridiculous moments, and some really cheesy moments, but overall the film kept me entertained, and I had a fun time with the chemistry of the characters.
½ June 26, 2010
(**): Thumbs Down

I like the lead actors but there are way too many absurd moments here, especially the performance from the usually reliable Scott Glenn (his performance is beyond over-the-top).
½ February 5, 2016
This was the second half of a DVD double feature and I wasn't sure what I was getting into, but it turned out to be a very watchable murder mystery set in Saigon during the Vietnam war.

Worth a rental.
April 16, 2015
An enjoyable enough mid week military thriller.
½ May 27, 2013
Sergeant First Class Buck McGriff (Willem Dafoe) and Sergeant First Class Albaby Perkins (Gregory Hines) are two joint services Criminal Investigation Division (CID) agents on duty in a war torn Saigon during the Vietnam War. When a prostitute is found murdered they discover that the prime suspects are high ranking U.S. Army officers. As they investigate they find that there have a string of at least six murders in the last year, but the previous inquiry was shut down from higher up the chain of command.
Investigations lead them to Colonel Dexter Armstrong (Scott Glenn), but Armstrong rules himself out of inquiries by committing suicide. With the help of a French nun Sister Nicole (Amanda Pays) and their non-commissioned officer in charge, Master Sergeant Dix (Fred Ward), they finally close in on their target...

"Saigon" as it was called when it came out in 1988, the change to "Saigon: Off Limits" (The term "off limits" referred to the area where the original crime took place, an area of Saigon off limits to military personnel) must have happend afterwards during the global release, was pretty ok as far as I remember. Reseeing it now, doesn´t change my point of view. The story itself is very much a product of the 80´s, a typical buddy buddy cop thriller structure with a nasty murdercase in the focus. The feeling of trying to cash in on the success of "Platoon" from the year before is there for sure, thus I reckon the storyline was set in Saigon due to this. And casting Dafoe as one of the main characters makes it even more apparent. The general vibe of the movie is very 80´s with an ending were the bad guy gets what he deserves and then everything is happy and dandy. That feels somewhat strange in 2013. What makes "Saigon" stand out for me is the acting and the great dynamics between Willem Dafoe and Gregory Hines. I love Hines intense acting. The film marks Willem Dafoe's second Vietnam War movie. Dafoe had previously starred in Platoon and would go on to play roles in both "Born on the Fourth of July" and "Flight of the Intruder". And it was nice to resee the stunning Amanda Pays. A scene I still haven´t forgotten is the one with Colonel Armstrong (Glenn) throwing out Vietcong prisoners from a helicopter. A scene that ends with his own suicide. Intense and crazy. The movie offers some nice tunes in the midst as well such as "Funky Broadway" by Wilson Pickett and "Stand!" by Sly and the Family Stone. "Saigon" is a fast-paced, suspensefull and at times violent thriller. Not that bad in my book.
½ May 18, 2013
Ennalta-arvattava mutta ajoittan varsin tehokas. Scott Glenn tekee lyhyen mutta tehokkaan sivuosa!
May 6, 2013
Its an alright 80´s movie...worth seeing just because of Defoe!
November 29, 2012
Goodnight Saigon ... Farewell Moral Values--Praise for an overlooked and fine film!!
November 17, 2011
Decent murder mystery.
½ June 25, 2011
Mix the buddy cop banter of Lethal Weapon with some Vietnam commentary and you've got yourself Off Limits, an enjoyable Military Police procedural that doesn't rock your core with its obvious climax but does deliver an appropriate amount of intrigue. Plus, some seriously fun supporting turns from Keith David (he watches the MOD Squad!), David Allen Grier, Fred Ward, and the kinky Scott Glenn. VF.
Super Reviewer
December 1, 2010
The only good thing I can say about this movie is its a cop movie set in Vietnam but other then that, Thats it.Within the 1st 10 minutes of the movie I figured out who the killer was.Yay for me
July 17, 2010
Comcast had a spoiler right in their damn synopsis. "Off Limits (1988). Willem Dafoe, Gregory Hines. During the Vietnam War, two military policemen are tracking a brutal killer who is preying on prostitutes--and the trail is leading them to a man they don't want to cross. With Fred Ward."

Gosh, I wonder who could be the killer?

What happened to Scott Glenn was idiotic. And there's a scene in the middle that was so overwrought, I pictured Mary Katherine Gallagher saying, "My feelings can best be expressed by this scene from the Vietnam War murder mystery Off Limits, in which the grizzled military detective played by Willem Dafoe takes refuge in the room of the nun who loves him, played by Amanda Pays..."
½ June 28, 2010
"Off Limits" was a very entertaining, suspenseful, and all around fun action packed mystery. This movie truly kept me on the edge of my seat, and both Willem Dafoe and Gregory Hines were great in this movie.

Basically Dafoe and Hines play Army police officers during the Vietnam War in Saigon. A murder of a prostitute takes place, and the two cops find out that it's related to similar murders at different times, and the person who killed these women is high-ranking. So the whole film is like "catch the bad guy" and in this film it works very well.

It was just really fun to watch these two actors try to solve the mystery. Some scenes are a little ridiculous in the drama, for instance some co-stars might have really atrocious acting skills, but other than that everything was alright in the acting department. Basically what I'm saying is, that Dafoe and Hines were great, but it was a tossup for the rest of the cast.

I really liked the action in this film. A lot of the car chases and what have you, are filmed extremely well. The camera is placed perfectly in a lot of these scenes, making it easy for me to stay attentive, and have a lot of fun with it at the same time. This mixed in with some good dialogue from Dafoe and Hines (not the ridiculous lines by the rest of the cast..) made the movie very entertaining for me.

So all in all, "Off Limits" was a pretty good movie. There were a couple of ridiculous moments, and some really cheesy moments, but overall the film kept me entertained, and I had a fun time with the chemistry of the characters.
½ June 26, 2010
(**): Thumbs Down

I like the lead actors but there are way too many absurd moments here, especially the performance from the usually reliable Scott Glenn (his performance is beyond over-the-top).
June 22, 2010
Can't get enough off Vietnam films!
cancercapricorn2002
Super Reviewer
½ June 16, 2010
Even though its set during the Vietnam war Off Limits is first and foremost a genuine cop thriller, set in a hellish environment torn apart through warfare, and an effectively disturbing portrait of the horrible issues caused by American soldiers outside of the battlefields. McGriff and Perkins have the worst jobs in the world, since they're employed as army police officers in Saigon and responsible to investigate the crimes committed by American soldiers. One day they're assigned to investigate the murder of a Vietnamese prostitute who had a child with an American soldier. They quickly discover this isn't the first gruesome crime of its kind, as no less than seven similar cases were reported during the past year and they're clearly the work of a serial killer with a strict modus operandi. The devoted and headstrong duo also discovers that the previous officer prematurely quit his investigation even though he came fairly close to capturing the killer, undoubtedly because several high ranked officers got involved and his own life became endangered. McGriff and Perkins, however, are determined to stop to sadist killer, especially when they receive help from a beautiful and street-wise young novice. "Off Limits" is a fast-paced, suspense and frequently very violent thriller with a screenplay that is full of misleading twists, false leads and red herrings, like a legitimate and compelling whodunit thriller ought to be. Some sequences are even downright fantastic, for instance the helicopter-interrogation (Scott Glenn is sublime) or the nail-biting scene where the copper duo is surrounded by a mob of furious and vengeful Vietnamese people. Christopher Crowe's direction is tight and consequently surefooted ? which is quite remarkable for a debut feature ? and his own script is *almost* completely devoid of dreadful clichés and irritating stereotypes. I do emphasize the word 'almost' because a Vietnam movie without mad-raving American officers and/or foul-mouthed Vietnamese prostitutes is practically unthinkable. Dafoe and Hines provide some terrific on screen chemistry, but they certainly aren't your typical witty interracial buddies like Eddie Murphy & Nick Nolte in "48 Hours" or Mel Gibson & Danny Glover in "Lethal Weapon". They tease and provoke each other all the time, but the atmosphere of the film and the nature of the events are simply to austere to mix with comedy. The film is beautifully shot and has a marvelous soundtrack filled with timeless contemporary songs from James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Arthur Resnick. "Off Limits" is a terrific and incomprehensibly overlooked film. If you have the opportunity to watch it, please do so without hesitation.
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