Stakeout (1987) - Rotten Tomatoes


Stakeout (1987)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Though John Badham's Stakeout doesn't flinch in the violence department, the film concentrates primarily on characterization. Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez play a pair of Seattle detectives, assigned to capture escaped hood Aidan Quinn. The twosome spends much of the film on stakeout in a lonely, deserted house; the object of their scrutiny is Madeline Stowe, Quinn's former girlfriend. Pretending to be a telephone repairman, Dreyfuss plants a bug in Stowe's apartment--thereby inaugurating a romance that compromises the detective's objectivity. In the climax, Quinn gets the upper hand--at least until the fists start flying. Perfect as it stood, Stakeout didn't need to be elaborated upon with a sequel, but Another Stakeout was produced all the same.

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News & Interviews for Stakeout

Critic Reviews for Stakeout

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (6)

Slick, sure-footed entertainment, one part buddy comedy and one part police actioner stitched together with a dash of romance.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

Between Lecce's illicit courtship and Reimers' consternation, there are some hearty laughs of a juvenile nature.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The director uses the conventions of the action-comedy in so adroit a way that you may even forget the hundred other films you've seen lately about a couple of cops kidding around with each other in between battling the bad guys.

May 21, 2003 | Full Review…

Dreyfuss and his style are the two best things in "Stakeout," a movie that consists of a good idea surrounded by a bad one.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

You might want to stake out a theater near you.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

A mature human farce that values characters' foibles over their firearms.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Stakeout

The same year as the greatest buddy cop action flick of all time 'Lethal Weapon' and at times you can see a similarity to be honest. The opening credits definitely have a similar tone and font/colour to the Donner movies opening, but this movie is obviously more of a comedy than thriller. Who'd of thought you'd see Dreyfuss in a cop based action flick though huh, what's even more unusual is Dreyfuss is actually way more believable as the ass-kicking cop than baby-faced Estevez. So a dangerous criminal has broken out of jail and is coming after his ex-squeeze because she has a load of his money hidden away in her home (she doesn't know). The police are drafted in to stakeout the place (hence the movies title...huh huh) and watch over the woman whilst waiting for the crook so they can nick him. Its up to old man Dreyfuss and his younger partner Estevez to stake out this woman's home by night whilst two other cops (Lauria and Whitaker) stake it out by day. As you can imagine much pissing around and slapstick ensues as the main mustachioed duo of Dreyfuss and Estevez play pranks on the other two cops, snooping around the woman's house without permission and eventually interacting with her (without permission). As already said its surprising to see Dreyfuss being the cocky arrogant ladies man who basically gets Estevez into hot water with his unprofessional antics. You really really expect the wild card to be Estevez, instead he tends to sit on the sidelines being the uppity by the book cop in the duo. In fact this movie is mainly a vehicle for Dreyfuss truth be told, he's the man, he gets all the action and he gets the girl. This movie really took me back though, I remember seeing it on the shelves at my local videostore when I was a kid...hell I remember it coming out in the videostore. Its such a dated movie and so so very 80's (naturally), all the action is well shot and directed but its completely overblown in places, hyped up with a typical action movie score ad chock full of those typical action movie type sequences and closeups with witty quickfire quips. The only surprise the movie has going is the fact the bad guy doesn't die in a big way...he merely dies...oh spoiler warning...well not really its bloody obvious, this is an 80's action movie for heavens sake. The finale I'm talking of is quite an anti climax actually. The whole chase sequence is filled with guns firing, bullets pinging off metal just missing every bodies heads and both antagonist and protagonist are leaping around like gazelles on too much coffee. This all takes place in a logging factory with lots of big dangerous machines so you'd bet your bottom dollar the bad guy will get cut in half or squashed...or whatever. Well you'd think that but no! not in this action movie, nope it looks great, its tense but in the end it limps to a weak conclusion and of course soppy ending. I'm not saying the movie is poor...but I found it average, a poor man's watered down 'Lethal Weapon' really. Estevez and Dreyfuss are a good combination (oddly enough) and they do spark well off each other at times. The start of the movie is the most entertaining with the duo messing around and...ermm staking out. But as things progress and a love story blossoms it gets a little drab and cheesy, of course its predictable and really the main villain isn't that bad, or not bad enough. I know its not meant to be an overly violent action fest but its not overly funny either...just a standard cop flick with a standard wise-ass duo who like to break their bosses balls being rebellious (twas the thing back then). There isn't an abundance of action either to be honest, the odd car chase and gunfight routines. Being one of the earlier action movies in the genre it gets a pass as the concept is a little more original than other cop flicks and the duo are an unexpected quirky double team. Up against other big hitters like 'Lethal Weapon' '48 Hours' 'Beverly Hills Cop' can't quite compete but it holds its own just about. It does the job but it won't have you thinking about it much after the credits have rolled. Its a fast food action movie and its...well ya know...very 80's (get your Boglins out).

Phil Hubbs
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

Stakeout is a passable movie, not very good, but exciting and funny.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

One or two fun moments, but overall not the best (or worst) entry into the buddy cop genre. The fight in the saw mill at the end is well done.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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