Hops and Box Office Flops: ‘TANGO AND CASH – Armed and Definitely Dangerous’
Tango & Cash is a the cinematic manifestation of all the 80s muscle-bound mayhem rolled into one messy package. It’s a part serious, part satirical, part nonsensical tale of dueling cops forced into an uneasy partnership. And as much as it clearly doesn’t work, it somehow is a hell of a lot of fun.
Pairing two of the decade’s iconic stars, Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell, as the titular duo, Tango & Cash was meant to be a mega hit. To a degree, it was; it earned $120.4 million on a budget of $54 million.
Those numbers, though, pale in comparison to some of its contemporaries. Another 48 Hrs. grossed over $150 million on a far smaller production cost; and Lethal Weapon 2, released just five months prior, made a whopping $227.9 million.
These comparison points are for more than simply genre and relative release timing. Tango & Cash, as alluded to above, desperately wants to emulate far better mismatched buddy action films. And in its quest to duplicate their collective successes, it never knows what it wants to be.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but that was due in large part to its issues behind the scenes. This encompassed multiple directors, an unwritten ending, a budget that ballooned out of control, and a literal tug-of-war over its tone. The term “tonal whiplash” may not be descriptive enough to describe this film (Thanks, Jon Peters).
Now, take everything you just read and put it into a hall of mirrors with Jack Palance holding a couple of mice. Why? Well, none of that matters. You will understand that what you’re watching is stupid, but you won’t care because they don’t care. Tango & Cash is shamelessly unapologetic; it continues to throw zingers at you, knowing full well that they will never stop coming.
Literally, the script is 90% one-liners. So even if 50% of them don’t work, just enjoy the ones that do!
So sit back, get locked and loaded with a Weapons Check Irish Red Ale from 1912 Brewing Co., and burn rubber in the soccer mom van of doom! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, Chumpzilla, Mayor McCheese, and a special guest are playing bad cop/worst cop with a live grenade!
This Week’s Segments:
- Introduction/Plot Breakdown – With shifting tones that are sure to give you a kink in your neck, the last big film of 1989 is a curious one. (00:00)
- Lingering Questions – Despite its marketable stars, Tango & Cash was only a moderate success. Did it deserve better? (1:01:34)
- The “Don’t Flatter Yourself, Peewee” Trivia Challenge – I challenge the field to trivia about the movie. (1:32:00)
- Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and coming up, it’s our “Hops and Holiday Flops” series. First up, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms! (1:43:09)