BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – Judgment Night (1993)


My coronavirus movie marathon continues, 3.5 readers.

This one wasn’t all that cheesy.  I thought it was pretty good as a kid.  As an adult it seems a little goofy but overall, it’s solid and has a simple lot.

Four friends, Jeremy Piven, Cuba Gooding Jr, Emilio Estevez and Stephen Dorff step outside of their suburban Illinois lives, borrowing an RV to go to a boxing match in Chicago.

A traffic jam causes them to seek out a shortcut, which leads to a wrong turn, which leaves them in a bad neighborhood where they witness a murder.  From thereon, the movie is a chase flick, as drug dealer Fallon (Dennis Leary) and his band of goons pursue the pals in an attempt to get rid of the witnesses.

There isn’t a lot in the way of character development.  Everyone gets their brief moment to shine but the movie primarily focuses on the chase and we don’t get to know the characters all that well, though we get a brief glimpse.

Piven, who was typecast as the douchebag friend in every group who eventually screws over the group with his douchebaggery plays true to form in this, the rich son of a stockbroker who tries to talk his way out of a situation where clearly there isn’t any room for negotiation.

Frank (Estevez) is a recently married man who just had a baby, adjusting to his new life as a family man, still shaking off his younger party boy days.  There’s a trace of resentment at having to stay home all the time at the beginning of the film, though by the end he finds a new appreciation for the safety of home.

Cuba starts out mild and ends up wild, almost enjoying “the game” and wanting to take on all the bad guys by himself.

Dorff…is mostly there for moral support.

Comedian Leary was famous for doing his rapid fire, long form rants, just unleashing swaths of anger at a rapid clip.  He has a few moments to do that here, though it’s clear he was held back as no one wanted to turn his criminal character into a stand up comedian.

STATUS: Shelf worthy.  Overall, solid flick.  Worth a watch.  Overall message is we should care more about how the other half lives.  The suburban boys quickly learn that the poor live hard lives and when they are stuck in a bad place, there’s no one to turn to for help, so they have to help themselves.

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