Picks and Pans Review: Wanted Dead or Alive

updated 03/09/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/09/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

Rutger Hauer plays a modern-day bounty hunter who lives in a high-tech loft and loves to dress in leather. He also likes big guns, and when he sets out after an Arab terrorist who specializes in blowing up Los Angeles movie theaters, he's like a blond, beefy Rambo. Maybe there was never any chance to make much of this, but the script is just plain stupid, never giving enough information about Hauer's character to suggest why anyone should care about him. (The closest it comes is to note that he is supposed to be a descendant of Josh Randall, the character Steve McQueen played on a '50s TV series.) This is an action-adventure film, and despite some scary stuff at the beginning—Hauer saves some Vietnamese grocers from robbers—the movie just grunts along to the predictable climax. Ex-rocker Gene Simmons kisses off his terrorist role with an appropriate glower. Robert Guillaume is a friendly CIA agent who discovers that his colleagues are setting Hauer up. About the only sympathetic character here is newcomer Mel Harris, who plays Hauer's flight-attendant girlfriend. There is more intelligence and warmth behind those eyes than in all the rest of this moribund film. When the best thing you can say about a movie is that it reminds you of Cobra, it is a sorry project indeed. (R)

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