Just Pillow Talk’s Birthday Nightmare: Shoot to Kill (1988)

This has now got beyond a joke for poor old Just Pillow Talk. I honestly believe that he has one of these chairs from A Clockwork Orange set up at home just to force him through mediocre film after dreadful film. Still, he’s battered but unbowed and after the relative disappointment of a “classic”, he’s due a nice simple action film. So, today’s instalment of his Birthday Nightmare is the Sidney Poitier and Tom Berenger effort: Shoot to Kill.

So, that’s enough tedious preamble from me, here’s JPT with his latest review:

To say I am a broken man is an understatement. All hope of decent cinema viewing has been squashed…repeatedly, by Beatty, Fuckstick Brooks, monster rape, and dreary “respected” movies. I expect nothing but untold misery from every forthcoming movie on my list. And yet…despite better judgement, I’m hoping for something entertaining with Shoot to Kill.

Sidney Poitier plays FBI agent Stantin who ends up bargaining for more than he chooses when he investigates a diamond theft. They get their hands on the owner of the jewelry store who was stealing the diamonds himself, but his reason isn’t because of the monetary value, but because his wife has been kidnapped and he’ll exchange the diamonds for his wife. They track him to the owner’s house where he shows he means business by blowing away the maid. They had such trouble getting good hired help. So he manages to get out of the house, due to holding the man’s wife hostage still, and proposes an exchange at the docks: diamonds for wife. Well, he gets his hands on the diamonds and ends up putting a bullet in the wife’s eye. He promptly escapes. The FBI slightly fucked up on that hostage situation in my humble estimation.

So the FBI is busy trying to find out where the hell the dude went and get lucky when they discover a similar bullet wound to the eye in a Washington forest. Turns out our criminal panicked when he saw some police activity blocking the road, which he erroneously thought was for him when it was because of an accident just beyond the bend.

Agent Stantin goes out there to find the dude, and is told that the best man to be his guide in the forest is Johnny Knox (Tom Berenger). To complicate matters, his girl, Kirstie Allen (Sarah), has taken a hiking party through the forest and the diamond dude has joined them. Stantin has trouble convincing Knox to lead him since Knox knows he’s a big city guy, and “there’s no elevators out there” in the forest, dammit! However, Knox ends up agreeing and on the trail they go. To help us realize that Stantin is a fish out of water, he get’s off the horse very sorely and tells the horse to “cut the shit” when it’s giving him some issues. Hilarity ensues when Stantin tries to get the horse to run off when they come across a trail the horses can’t go on. Finally he must fire his gun in the air to get the horse to take off. Woah nelly!

When Stantin starts complaining again about how he hates the forest, Knox shoots back:

“You might be some hot shit where you’re from, but we are on my turf. So why don’t you shut up, sit back and enjoy the ride.”

If that doesn’t tickle your balls, Stantin opens the door to the cabin they stopped at, and a moose is staring right at him in front of the door. He closes the door, reopens it, and the moose is gone. Hah! Oh, the look on his face is priceless.

So they continue to follow Sarah and her group, with a dramatic scene where Knox has to cross a rope to get to the little carriage thing that will bring them across to the other side. Someone had left it on the other side. How rude!

So back to Sarah’s merry band of hikers, and we get some great comedy coming up. So one of the buffoons stops near a narrow passageway high above a river to tie his boot. Well, he slips and almost falls over the edge. Steve (THE KILLER) happens to be the one there to help him up, alas, his gun falls out onto the ledge. Steve helps the sap up after he retrieves his gun for him and then OOPS pushing him over the edge. The rest of the group hurries back to the spot and Steve grabs another dude and heaves him over the edge, punches another dude in the gut and throws him over. One last dude left, and he forces him over by putting the gun to his head. The way this played out: hysterical. Well our dynamic duo stumble across the bodies in the river, and Knox is worried about Sarah. STELLA! I mean, SARAH!

The dynamic duo continues the trek, going up mountain sides and through a bad snowstorm to try to cut off Sarah and Steve. None of this is dramatic, even with the shit music playing in the background. You hear me shitty background music, you’re not going to change my mind..it’s not dramatic! Even with Knox stripping down and laying on top of Stantin to keep him warm! Bastards! They even run across a bear…a bear! Stantin saves the day by screaming at it and waving his arms around. “Everyone acts like they’ve never seen a black man around before, why should a bear be different”. Heat of the Night, this is not.

Steve escapes to Vancouver, where eventually they track him down to where he’s going to exchange the diamonds. A boring chase ensues, where they end up on a ferry. Steve shoots Stantin a couple of times, but runs out of bullets to put the last onein his eye. He tosses him overboard, but somehow an older man who’s been shot twice, holds onto him and he topples over in the water as well. Stantin, badly injured, manages to get the better of him and fires his gun and kills Steve.

Stantin gets pulled out of the water, and while on a stretcher, Knox asks him if “you FBI agents do this type of stuff everyday”…”Every damn day.” See, Stantin asked Knox the same thing when they were in the forest barely surviving, because fish out of water and…aw fuck it. You get the idea.

This was not a good movie. At all. The performances are passable, the action is meh. The dialogue is poor, really trying to stress to the audience that the black FBI agent from the city is sooooo out of his element in the big bad forest. Mountain boy has something to contribute to society too! Christ, you ever hear of being a bit more subtle filmmakers?

I give it 1 angry grizzly bear out of 4.

Next up: Blame it on Rio (unless it gets lost in the mail, crosses fingers)

Pillow out.

The Nightmare so far…

1973 The World’s Greatest Athlete 1 / 4

1974 Deranged 0.5 / 4

1975 Shampoo 1.5 / 4

1976 Taxi Driver 3 / 4

1977 Black Samurai 1.5 / 4

1978 The Betsy 0 / 4

1979 Quintet 0 / 4

1980 Hero at Large 2/4

1981 Dogs of War 2.5/4

1982 The Beast Within 0/4: The Orangutan of Doom

1983 King of Comedy 3/4

1984 Blame it on Rio

1985 Lost in America 0/4

1986 Quicksilver

1987 84 Charing Cross Road (1 out of 4)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

21 responses to “Just Pillow Talk’s Birthday Nightmare: Shoot to Kill (1988)”

  1. Droid says :

    I haven’t seen this since the early 90’s (called Deadly Pursuit in Australia). I remember it being quite enjoyable. A straightforward thriller, with some mild mystery as to who the killer is (now I’d pick it straight away because of the actor) and some simple fish out of water comedy. I feel you may be being a little hard on this one. This list really is bringing out the cranky bastard in you. Moreso than usual anyway.

    • Jarv says :

      I noticed that.

      He really is shooting first and asking questions later. It’s understandable considering the film that should not be named.

      He needs a break. Something with ‘splosions and boob.

      • Droid says :

        Yeah, this isn’t a really good film or anything. But it’s certainly not 1 out of 4. 2 is a good, evenhanded rating. Personally, I have fond memories of it, so might even go 2.5.

        He does need a break. This list could very well kill his enjoyment of film in general. Nam style flashbacks to the film that shall not be named. Get this kid some counselling!

      • Jarv says :

        Charing Cross Road got 1 as well, and on another day could have made 2 or more.

        He’s damaged, best get him some drugs.

        Mind you, we don’t know, man, we weren’t there.

      • Droid says :

        I predict by the end of this list we’ll find Pillows in South East Asia participating in Russian Roullette tournaments.

      • Droid says :

        I’ve got it! We can send Pillows the remaining Mt Almadovar films! That’ll cheer the poor lad up!

      • Jarv says :

        Good idea.

        There’s mucho boob in them.

        Maybe throw in a copy of Nude Nuns with Big Guns as well.

      • Jarv says :


        Possible final destinations for pillows:

        1) SE Asia playing Russian Roullette.

        2) On an Island in the south pacific talking to a volleyball

        3) Absorbed by his computer fighting a CGI version of himself.

        4) Sitting in a chair holding a gun to his own head arguing with his imaginary friend.

      • Droid says :


        5) wakes up in the middle of nowhere and starts talking to a giant demonic rabbit

        6) becomes a caretaker for a cliffside hotel and starts writing a book which reads “All work and no play make Pillows a dull boy” over and over and over again

        7) goes to live in a cave in Cambodia and mutters to himself about “the horror”

        8 ) moves his family to LA and opens the “Stop or my mom will shoot” scenic tour of Los Angeles.

      • Jarv says :

        This is great.

        11) Commits crime. Gets sent to prison. Makes friends with birds.

        12) In an asylum being subjected to ECT to try to remove the memory from his brain.

        13) Sitting in a lounge suit whinging about having cancer of the prick.

      • Jarv says :

        14) Hallucinating and climbing into the worst toilet in America looking for the way out

        15) Turning into pillowfly and terrorising Mrs. Pillows.

        These films are terribly bad for him.

      • Droid says :

        16) Pesters the mailman on a daily basis as he waits with ever increasing anxiety for his invitation to the Tappy Tibbons show.

      • Jarv says :

        17) Goes on crash diet (while pestering mailman etc) and becomes frantic because he can’t fit into his red dress.

  2. just pillow talk says :

    I may have been a tad harsh on this one, but I do not think it is a 2 film, probably 1.5. There is no tension or drama to the film, and what Sidney will say to Tom is just repeated by Tom to Sidney later in the film, to show that both are “learning” from each other. It’s weak. If this movie came out now, you guys would harpoon the shit out of it. It is not a good movie, and after trekking through the mountains, nearly dying, being shot twice in the chest/shoulder area, getting thrown in the water…Sidney was able to out wrestle a younger, stronger dude and shoot him? They also spent a lot of time with the hiking group, to get to know them, for no reason. I tell you, watch the scene where we ‘discover’ who the killer is and see him push everyone over the cliff…it’s comically bad.

  3. just pillow talk says :

    I’ve already done that scenic tour, it’s quite lovely.

  4. just pillow talk says :

    My volleyball understands what I’m going through, quite unlike you rude bastards…

  5. Bartleby says :

    gotta agree with pillows..dramatically this one is dead in the water. think your nostalgia is clouding it droid.

    Id rather watch switchback again with danny glover and thats saying something.

  6. ThereWolf says :

    Whoa, ‘Deadly Pursuit’ is all right. I mean it’s a long time since I’ve seen it but I recall it being a painless 90 minutes.

    If you think that’s bad, wait till you see ‘Blame It On Fucking Rio’!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: