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The Hidden (Arrow Recommends)

The Hidden (Arrow Recommends)
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Arrow Recommends is a column that has my sorry ass advise older movies to your royal asses. I will be flexible in terms of genres i.e. I will cover whatever the bleep I want. For now, it will be the way to keep my voice on the site.

PLOT: When seemingly innocent people start stealing cars, gunning down civilians and going on anarchist rampage,s Detective Beck (Michael Nouri) is put on the case. Things get even weirder when he's tagged with FBI Agent Gallagher (Kyle MacLachlan). What the bleep is going on?! The Hidden wants to party, that's what.

"He sees something he wants, he steals it. If something gets in his way, he kills it. And right now, he's hiding out in your city." - Lloyd Gallagher

LOWDOWN: If you took the essence of what makes Rock and Roll music and somehow managed to inject it into celluloid, you’d get Jack Sholder’s (who also tackled the infamous Nightmare on Elm Street 2) 1987 sock em, crush em, mow them all down genre-bending jamboree THE HIDDEN (get the Blu-Ray or Stream it here). What are we talking about over here? Well if THE THING, THE TERMINATOR and LETHAL WEAPON had a gang-bang while on a coke binge – THE HIDDEN would be what would pop out of the glory hole 9 months later. Just to give you an idea, cause I’m helpful like that. 

Right out the gate with its violent car chase carnage-heavy opening THE HIDDEN (written by Jim Kouf of Stakeout, Rush Hour and National Treasure fame) wasted no time in announcing what kind of ride we’d be in for. And it pretty much didn’t let up on the thrills and spills till the bitter end. Personally; it pimped out all of the ingredients that usually pleases my simpleton movie-loving ass. The flick is filled with hot cars (lots of Ferrari and a slick Porsche), varied artillery galore (gun nuts take note), a mucho high body count and one hell of a sexy/deadly scene with Claudia Christian playing a stripper that gets trigger-happy. Her scenes marked me as a wee Arrow, and they still delivered today. Damn!

Outside of its anarchist nature and gleeful reveling in exploitation, THE HIDDEN also managed to be an enduring cop film and an at times organically funny buddy picture. The fact that the cop sequences were handled in such a grounded fashion (Sholder has said that he was inspired by Sidney Lumet’s work and it showed) only made the “otherworldly” happenings hit even harder. And the same went for the “buddy relationship” between the two cops which handled its humor in an organic way as opposed to forcing it, hence making our heroic duo one to reckon with. It’s ironic; actor Michael Nouri was actually offered (and turned down) the role of Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon, which was shot later that same year. Maybe he felt he’d be doing the same movie minus aliens cause there were many parallels between the two films. Both were set in LA, both were buddy cop films, both had scenes of the partner coming to eat at the other’s family house and both have solid character actor Ed O'Ross (also the villain in Red Heat) in them.

Casting wise, the film was filled with genre favs, many before they were famous. I spotted Clu Gulager, Lin Shaye, Danny Trejo and of course the aforementioned Claudia Christian! The main cast was sublime as well, namely Kyle MacLachlan (playing an FBI Agent before he ever was Dale Cooper) and Michael Nouri after he “Flashdanced”. Both men shared a magnetic chemistry (I hear they didn’t like each other on set, which helped the dynamic), and they were both affable in their own unique ways. A special mention goes out to Katherine Cannon as Nouri’s wife. What could have been your typical “cop’s wife” role was elevated via the gravitas and the earnest emotions that Cannon brought to the proceedings. A beautiful performance. I really dug her! 

Add to all that a string of hard hitting 80’s rock/heavy metal tunes (by the likes of Concrete Blonde,The Truth and Shok Paris), Sholder handling the practical stunt filled action set-pieces like the champ that he is, gratuitous violence left and right, effective practical special effects/cool use of stop-motion, and an ending that becomes more disturbing every time I see it and you get one hell of a rough around the edges horror/action gem that deserved and stills deserves way more recognition than it got. Any peeves? Not really. I guess the middle section lagged JUST A LITTLE BIT, and lots of the usual buddy/cop cliches were in the house and… well…  that’s it. I honestly have nothing truly negative to say about this incredibly engaging flick.

They actually did a sequel to THE HIDDEN in 1993 called THE HIDDEN II and where this one was filled to the brim with quality on many echelons; the follow-up was the complete opposite. It’s actually probably one of the worst sequels I have ever seen in my pitiful life. Avoid it like the plague or tap it if you’re a masochist. In closing, if you’re yearning for a movie that simply doesn’t give a f*ck and goes buck-nuts with guns, cars, sexiness and bloodshed galore all wrapped up in a thrilling and clever story to boot, this one’s got your number. THE HIDDEN f*cking owns! 

 

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