Off Limits Reviews
Worth a rental.
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.
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..."
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.
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).