The Untouchables (1987) (R)













Al Capone is a name that has gone done in American history as one of our most notorious gangsters. He is an iconic man whose role should not be taken on lightly when portrayed on screen. "The Untouchable" recounts the story of the men who took down America's most famous gangster.
It's 1930 and prohibition is in full force making policemen busy with picking up the illegal activities of the moving of booze. It's also making our favorite criminal very rich. Then, a treasury agent with a heart of gold decides that he will hunt down and expose Capone for the murdering criminal that he is.
Eliot Ness is our protagonist and he is played horribly by Kevin Coster, who just needed a few more years to turn in "Dances with Wolves" which is the only thing I've seen him in that actually uses his bland Southern droll in a good way. Here, he's from Chicago (the accent is confusing) and he's always by the book. He'll never break any of the rules, but we're supposed to believe that sometime he'll go 'rogue' and become the Sam Spade character that he needs to in order to get Capone.
Jim Malone is the cop that is tough as nails and clever as a fox. It's Malone who has knowledge of the streets and the guts to do anything in the name of justice and he's the one who helps Ness form a group of crime fighters called The Untouchables. He is played by Sean Connery, and this is the best character in the film. He's the only person who seems to be conveying what he's supposed to. The others are all flat characters that only annoy.
Then there's Oscar Wallace a FBI accountant who concocts the plan to take down Capone.
And then the last one is George Stone, played by Andy Garcia.
Mr. Capone is played by Robert De Niro who is pitifully bad as the gangster. He lacks a certain frightfulness that I feel like Andy Garcia could have pulled off if the two of them had traded roles.
I cannot emphasize how incredibly awful Kevin Costner is in this movie. Every scene with him is painful to watch. Regrettably, Brian De Palma seems to only be able to make vaguely entertaining and somewhat thrilling movies with not much sustenance, "Mission Impossible" for instance. Knowing that, all I wanted was J. J. Abrams to make a sequel to "The Untouchables".
The script itself is a work of art in the way that it produces line after line of impossibly horrid dialogue. Maybe it was just the actors who brought life to the lines, but I can't think of any way of making them good.
Perhaps the most obvious offense in the movie is the music that can't carry the movie. It tries to combine 80s pop music with the jazzy score of a noir film. That's the one things this film really lacks: noir.
It's in desperate need of a better lead actor, script, and director.

Score: 1 and a half stars out of 4


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