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Prime Cut (Widescreen)

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This offbeat blend of action and satire is a memorable outing from the "anything goes" era Hollywood experienced in the 1970s. Prime Cut delivers the amount of punch-ups, shoot-outs, and tough-guy talk expected from an action film, but Robert Dillon's inspired, unusual script puts a fresh twist on these action-film staples by placing them in a novel rural setting and giving the storyline a satirical voice. Thus, the viewer is treated to scenes where Gene Hackman gives a monologue in which he uses cattle-farming metaphors to explain how the Chicago crime syndicate is growing weak and a bizarre scene where Lee Marvin and Sissy Spacek are chased by a thug driving a huge thresher instead of the usual automobile. Director Michael Ritchie, better known for purely comedic fare like The Bad News Bears, conducts the pop-art thrills with a light, witty touch and gets great performances from his leads: Marvin is all cool machismo, Hackman is a blustery delight as his unrefined nemesis, and Spacek and Angel Tompkins add solid support as two very different women mixed up in the criminal capers. All in all, Prime Cut might be a little too odd for viewers who like their action movies straightforward, but it is perfect fare for cult-film fans, who will appreciate its mixture of punchy action and crime-as-a-business satire. Donald Guarisco, All Movie Guide

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