Blu-ray Review: Into the Night | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Saturday, May 25th, 2024  

Into the Night: Collector’s Edition

Studio: Shout! Factory

Nov 09, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

After discovering his wife’s been unfaithful, the down-in-the-dumps Ed Okin (Jeff Goldblum) goes for an aimless nighttime drive around Los Angeles to clear his head. Parked in a garage at LAX, Ed spots a beautiful woman being pursued by foreign gunmen. She climbs into his car and they flee the scene. As the night goes on, he learns that Diana (Michelle Pfeiffer) is a jewel smuggler on the run from Iranians whose emeralds she’s pocketed. Ed, lacking much else better to do, spends his night helping her elude her pursuers while further entangling himself in her deadly situation.

John Landis’ 1985 feature, Into the Night, stabs at dark comedy, but is rarely funny. A shockingly high level of violence has a lot to do with this, as well as the fact that many of the characters hurt or killed are innocents, or are only tangentially involved in the mess our leads are caught up in. (The movie’s big finale involves armed Middle Eastern men – one questionably played by Landis himself – taking hostages in a crowded airport before being gunned down by police, serves as a pretty good example of the movie’s tastelessness.) Goldblum, who usually elevates any material, seems asleep at the wheel in a role where his character does virtually nothing but drive Michelle Pfeiffer around wherever she asks him to. David Bowie shows up in a supporting role as a dapper English hitman, but for all of the memorable acting jobs he had during this era (The Hunger, Labyrinth), this is not one of his better ones.

One of the main elements that detracts from Into the Night will be far more noticeable to devoted cineastes than the casual viewer. To fill in the movie’s (many) small roles, Landis seems to have turned to his friends in the filmmaking business. Landis cast more than a dozen film directors in Into the Night, including David Cronenberg, Jim Henson, Lawrence Kasdan, Don Siegel, and Jonathan Demme. Though few have more than one or two-line cameos, it’s clear from their stilted deliveries why most of these people are better-suited behind the camera than in front of it. If you’re enough of a film freak to recognize them, it’s distracting. If you don’t, they come off as little more than suspiciously subpar extras.

We’d argue that the bonus features on Shout! Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray are better than the film itself. They are two new, 20-plus minute interviews with Landis and Goldblum, as well as a half hour-long documentary featuring B.B. King, who performed the film’s title track. Into the Night hasn’t aged nearly as well as other entries in the Shout Select line, but fans of the film – admittedly not us, but we know you’re out there – should be pleased this overall package.


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