Gene Hackman stars as a LA District Attorney attempting to take an unwilling murder witness (Archer) back to the Unites States to testify against a top-level mob boss. Frantically Attempting to escape two deadly hit men sent to silence her they board a Vancouver-bound train only to discover that the killers are onboard with them. For the next 20 hours as the train hurls through the beautiful but isolated Canadian wilderness a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues in which their ability to tell friend from foe is a matter of life and death.System Requirements:Starring: Gene Hackman Anne Archer James Sikking JT Walsh and M. Emmet Walsh. Director: Peter Hyams Running Time: 99 minutes; Closed Captioned. Copyright: 1990 Artisan Entertainment Inc. Video Format: Widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio Enhanced for 16x9 TVs.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA Rating: R UPC: 012236048404 Manufacturer No: 60484
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Back in 1952, during the waning days of film noir, director Richard Fleischer made The Narrow Margin, a cheaply produced, tightly structured B movie thriller about a cop forced to protect a gangster's widow while on a train. While it's no work of art, Fleischer's noir features a shocking climax of mistaken identity, an ominous, claustrophobic atmosphere, and tough, nearly unlikable protagonists screwed by fate, who spout sharp-witted dialogue and feel little more than contempt for each other. When Hollywood remakes itself, all the understatement and charm is usually lost when the filmmakers try to "modernize" the subject matter. This is one of many problems with writer-director Peter Hyams's remake (given the slightly shorter title Narrow Margin). He's dumped the surprising plot twist (it's now an action set piece atop a moving train) and softened the characters (now played with sleepwalking intensity by Gene Hackman and Anne Archer) with preposterous motivations. All that seems to be intact is the train premise, but Hyams is more interested in its action potential than any kind of menacing atmosphere. He's dropped the ambiguous relationships and smart dialogue in favor of pumping up the action sequences and daredevil stunts to ridiculous levels. Instead of adding excitement, all Hyams's expensive tricks do is drain Narrow Margin of any tension it might've retained from the original. --Dave McCoy
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