I love this movie, I rate it as one of Dreyfuss's best, one of Estevez's best, and one of the 80's best.For a movie which obviously earned enough money for the studio to green light a sequel, Stakeout seems to be almost forgotten when people talk about great movies of the 80's. Dreyfuss is superb here and has some great lines, as is Estevez playing the straighter of the two cops. The banter they had with the other two cops is hilarious to watch at times. Aiden Quinn is excellent as the menacing Montgomery, and Madeline Stowe has never been sexier..... and oh what a bum she has! Dreyfuss and Estevez make a great double act and have superb chemistry. The movie can be very dark at times especially during the opening and the finale, but its the comedy you will remember.If you have seen it, revisit it. If you haven't check it out asap.
Stakeout is a goofy, concept ridden but funny, surprisingly taut and surprisingly effective comedy thriller made in the best of spirits and played by those within with the greatest of honesty. The film has a certain crisp charm to it, an undeniable and rather infectious energy born out of its utilisation of the stone-wall concept that it feeds off of and its charismatic, watchable affection for its characters. If we are engaged as much as we are come the final act, it will not be because a topsy-turvy; wildly unpredictable; roller-coaster ride of a narrative turning its nose up at generic convention has rolled us around to the point at which we now stand, rather - we spot where the film will go thirty minutes to the end, and instead are involved because we've genuinely come to feel for those involved and become engrossed in their respective plights as decent characterisation drives the predominant show and certain screwball situations make us chuckle.The film opens with an elaborate jailbreak; before the stakeout seemingly coming the breakout, a hardened criminal repelling down prison walls and leaping onto truck roofs before doing all sorts of complicated negating of lorry hydraulics in order to get past the entrance gate – his accomplice in crime doing the driving, but refraining from doing the simple thing and smuggling him out in one of his boxes before merely placing him in the hiding spot. No matter, the sequence goes to some lengths to establish a certain 'Stick' Montgomery (Quinn) as the sort of guy able to keep his cool in such a dangerous situation; a situation that involves all the elements and that equally demands a certain physical ability. Before getting out and successfully escaping, the dealing with a prison doctor, whom abused his role as the medical expert within the penitentiary, reveals a merciless side to the criminal when it comes to dealing with those whom wronged him in the past. Not a million miles away in this, the American city of Seattle, operate Chris Lecce (Dreyfuss) and his partner in-tow Bill Reimers (Estevez); two police officers whom specialise in undercover stings and operations and so-forth. The pairing is one of a shameless but fun buddy combination, the two actors doing their very best with some material which isn't necessarily of the greatest of ilks, and is certainly both somewhat more juvenile whilst additionally a lot less interesting than a rapport or persistent interplay between, say, that of Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson in 1995's second Die Hard sequel, but operates to a pleasing degree on its level.As a pairing, both men share certain respective stages in life; Reimers is in a long term relationship with another woman, whereas Lecce has, conveniently for the film's eventual framework, recently seen his own marriage fall apart; Reimers is a guy whom, before the daily grind of chasing anonymous bad guys through shady parts of town, is more open minded and takes time to smell and appreciate his breakfast which is usually rather healthy, with Lecce often scoffing at such things before applying similar methods to the consumption of his morning meal of a decidedly unhealthy ilk. When working together, despite these characteristics of a binary sort, they are energetic; bounce off of one another in their policing techniques and are a team whom always appear to be there to help the other out – although, are not infallible, for that chasing of some token villains early on goes wrong and they get away.The crux of the film revolves around the staking out of a house belonging to that of a young woman named Maria McGuire (Stowe); the reasoning for two rotating teams of two members watching this woman's place is born out of the fact she is an ex-partner of the escapee from the opening, and there is a chance he will reacquaint himself with her resulting in a chance at recapturing him. Since Maria is of Latin American descent, some obligatory guitar music insinuating degrees of Hispanic allure usually accompanies her presence on the screen; what follows being a film whose crucible involves the situating of characters, and their consequent observing of the woman which itself are acts of objectification and spectatorship, going hand in hand with both the coming to understand of her plight and the being more aware of her issues and flaws as a human-being.The majority of this happens through Lecce, who's now single following his marital capitulation, and his transition from rather-a leering; bone-headed individual with the potential to move into woman-hating ways, into something else. Indeed, away from the portrait the film initially constructs of Maria as this thin; photogenic and obviously attractive "....because she's from THAT part of the world, and-they're-all-attractive-over-there", the breaking down of the character as somebody else or something else is done so through that of Lecce's perspective as he comes to understand her, feel for her and eventually love her for reasons other than stereotypical sultriness. The transition of this man is illustrated through his manoeuvring away from the attitudes of the other two cops that form the day-shift stakeout team, a pairing whom continue their crass, one dimensional views that are uglily encapsulated by the drawing of breasts on Maria's surveillance mugshot whilst maintaining a distant perspective. It is here in which the reason's that we enjoy director John Baham's Stakeout lie; a film that doesn't necessarily pull up trees, but is an affectionate and actually rather involving genre piece that comes with a solid Dreyfuss performance at the centre as well as numerous bouts of amusing comedy that we take to - the likes of which if we cannot embrace, then something inside of us must have died a death a fair while ago.
Noted action director John Badham delivers this comedy action-thriller concerning two cops, maverick Dreyfuss and his reluctant companion Estevez as they're ordered as punishment to undertake a stakeout detail across the road from a woman (Stowe) linked to a criminal they're wanting to catch (Quinn). The two engage in unprofessional conduct and eventually Dreyfuss discovers he's enamoured by Stowe, not at all like her FBI profile had suggested ("she could be the house!", Dreyfuss proclaims as Estevez reads her weight from the dossier). Naturally his affections compromise the case and he ends up deeper undercover than planned, posing as a criminal to avoid Quinn's suspicion.Badham doesn't seem to have the pitch quite right here; the film teeters between comedy and thriller, with some very funny moments (the "Jaws" in-joke is a cracker) contrasted by graphic violence. On the whole though, Dreyfuss and Estevez make an entertaining duo and their school-boy antics on their day shift peers (Lauria and Whitaker) serves to emphasise the light and humorous mood that often prevails.Sultry and seductive, Stowe gives a memorable performance as the former moll, whereas Quinn's violent criminal is mostly peripheral to the plot, only coming into focus in the last third of the film and its bloody conclusion in the timber mill. This was made at a time when Dreyfuss' career was recovering from his cocaine-induced hiatus, and both he and Estevez (perhaps his best 'adult' role to date) have the comedic timing and chemistry to make "Stakeout" an unlikely success. Followed by "Another Stakeout".