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The Presidio


In the 1980's, there was no more productive Director of film thrillers than Director Peter Hyams. In 1988, he cranked out yet another hit with THE PRESIDIO.

Mark Harmon (showing very little big screen star wattage here, maybe it's better he's moved to TV with NCIS) stars as a San Francisco detective who left the military police with a grudge to settle.

Austin (Harmon) gets the chance to settle the score when he's drawn into a murder case at The Presidio, ruled with an iron fist by Lt. Col Caldwell (Sean Connery having some fun in the role).

When the trail begins to lead to people within the military, Austin and Caldwell clash (predictably) before taking a very familiar (and predictable) path toward working together to solve the mystery.

Screenwriter Larry Ferguson then drops in a love story between the Colonel's beautiful daughter Donna (Meg Ryan at her peak) and Austin, just so we can suffer through some 80's montage love scenes by the fire and rote (and predictable) pushback from Connery as her father.

So clearly, the problem here is its so damn predictable. The good news is that Hyams sews some decent suspense and terrific action sequences out of the so-so screenplay, including an opening 15 minutes with plenty of intrigue and an excellent car chase that busts out of the base and onto the vertigo inducing hills of San Francisco.

Bruce Boughton provides a strong music score, Jack Warden provides some real presence in a supporting war hero role and Ryan is just stunning.

Connery blows Harmon off the screen in every scene and he's always great to watch, especially when he's smart and grumpy.

We'll give THE PRESIDIO a passable (but very predictable) B-.

SPOILER ALERT: If you've watched the movie, help me understand one question. Why do they go to all the trouble of putting the goods in the water bottles? What's the point? Couldn't the transaction have just been a simple handoff behind a closed door? Lazy writing and dumb plot hole.....unless you see something I missed!

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