Picks and Pans Review: Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man

updated 09/09/1991 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/09/1991 01:00AM

Mickey Rourke, Don Johnson

Its title characters are sexist, buffoonish, vulgar, unstable, irresponsible, incompetent and obnoxious. Other than suggesting a couple of perfect guys for Thelma and Louise to double-date, however, this is a movie in search of an excuse for living.

Not only does the film demean women—its female characters (Vanessa Williams plays one) are all harridans, floozies or lovelorn saps—it maligns men too. Does that make it bi-sexist? Except for a semilovable old restaurant owner, all males are portrayed as gun crazy, mean and stupid.

Rourke and Johnson play buddies who team to rob a bank that is gouging the semilovable old man on a lease. They end up lifting a drug shipment, angering bad guys badly acted by Tom Sizemore and Daniel Baldwin.

Much of the film, directed by Australian Simon (Phar Lap) Wincer and written by Don Michael Paul, consists of idiotically staged fistfights and shootouts. There's also a——athon of swearing and goony dialogue.

"If there is a heaven, or a God," muses Rourke, "you know, I'd like to meet the dude." (Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the cloud for that?)

Johnson looks to be slumming. Rourke's acting is Rourkish: not just world-weary but movie-weary. Let's hope his boxing career goes well. (R)

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