Renegades Review

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Philly cop Sutherland is working undercover to weed out a crook in his own department and has been duped into taking part in a big jewel heist by a pretty-boy psycho gangster (Knepper), who shoots him in the stomach for good measure. Quickly healed by a Native American doo-gooder (Phillips), Sutherland is on the chase again...


“It had great humour, great action, and a strong, believable relationship between the two main characters,” claims director Jack Sholder of the script of this buddy-cop-chase movie. Sholder’s most distinguished earlier work, The Hidden, was a triumph not of subtle character interplay or perceptive social comment but of crashed cars, machine-gun shoot-outs, energetic running-around and trashed public property. Renegades, despite all that “believable relationship” jazz, is simply more of the same.

During one of the many chases, Knepper takes a detour through a museum of American History and steals a sacred spear that has been in the Lakota Sioux tribe forever and which Phillips, a passing Indian, swears to get back at all costs, up to and including the deaths of his entire family. Phillips gets his witch doctor father to nurse Sutherland back to health and soon they’re on the streets together looking for Knepper, crashing cars, leaping between trains, shooting it out in restaurants or beauty parlours, torturing people, insulting each ‘ other - basically, all the regulation action movie kind of things.*Cliches and plot contrivances are visible at some distance and all the frenetic running around does not disguise the fundamental stupidity of the heroes or the sheer silliness of the plot. Oh, and remember that “strong, believable relationship between the two main characters”? Well, towards the end of the film, Phillips gives Sutherland half a magic rock.

There is a great deal of action in Renegades, yet it still manages to be a faintly boring film.