Picks and Pans Review: Malone

updated 05/18/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/18/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

"Ex-cop. Ex-CIA. Ex-plosive," read the ads for this movie. They forgot ex-cessive, ex-cruciating and ex-ceptionally boring. Burt Reynolds plays the title character. He is a Company hit man who is tired of his job—suffering from assassination overkill, as it were—and decides to retire and drive around Oregon. Naturally he happens upon a rich, right-wing megalomaniac who is building a nationwide paramilitary organization. Reynolds does a good job of getting into the world-weariness of his character, barely mustering the enthusiasm to say his lines. Of course the lines are mostly blather. This may be due to the fact that screenwriter Christopher Frank usually writes in French. Reynolds, Cliff Robertson, as the right-winger, and the rest of the cast do seem to hesitate a lot, as if they can't bring themselves to utter such dialogue. Scott (The Right Stuff) Wilson, as the Vietnam vet who befriends Reynolds, and Cynthia (Salvador) Gibb, as Wilson's teenage daughter, maintain some dignity. Director Harley (Black Moon Rising) Cokliss seems to have given up, though. The final shoot-out is especially listless. The model for films about strangers besieged in hostile towns, Bad Day at Black Rock, with Spencer Tracy (John Sturges directed), had more tension in any randomly chosen minute than there is in this whole film. If only Reynolds chose his movie properties as carefully as he does his hairpieces. (R)

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