Case Closed (1988)

Case Closed
(1988)- * * *1\2

Directed by: Dick Lowry 

Starring: Byron Allen and Charles Durning

Detective David Brockman (Allen) is a cop with a devil-may-care attitude to life. He may be happy-go-lucky, but don't cross him. He always gets his man. His father was on the Atlanta, Georgia police force, and, naturally, David is too. 

This fresh face is about to partner with an old salt: retired officer Les Kabowski (Durning). Kabowski may be a cigar-chomping overweight White guy, and Brockman may be a skinny, nerdy Black guy, but the two men both know how to wisecrack. When a diamond belonging to some European nobility goes missing, and everyone in the criminal underworld associated with moving the diamond ends up dead, Brockman and Kabowski put their unorthodox methods together to find the diamond and end the bloodshed that follows in its wake. How many more people have to die before Brockman and Kabowski can say CASE CLOSED?

Byron Allen with a shotgun. Need we say more? The beloved comedian, host of The Byron Allen Show, and owner of The Weather Channel beats up people, chases them relentlessly, and shoots several of them. We haven't seen anything like this since Collision Course (1989), where Jay Leno slaughtered Randall "Tex" Cobb. After all, it was the late 80's, and buddy cop movies with a lot of humor in them were all the rage: Red Heat (1988), Lethal Weapon (1987), etc. People may compare Case Closed with Beverly Hills Cop (1984). Just because Beverly Hills Cop is far more well known doesn't make it better. Case Closed is better.

Case Closed opens up with Allen singing along in a funny manner to the radio, much like Eddie Murphy does at the beginning of 48 Hrs. (1982). If this telefilm was trying to avoid comparisons with more mainstream Hollywood product, they really weren't helping themselves by starting the movie this way. But here's the bottom line of Case Closed: it's a ton of fun and highly recommended. Allen and Durning have great chemistry together and they both look like they're having a lot of fun. It's infectious for the viewer. There's a lot of upbeat action and comedy and you're never bored. It's really a rollicking good time.

Naturally, Byron Allen has great comic timing and that's displayed well throughout the film. Fan favorite Charles Durning does as well, and this "Original Odd Couple" pairing provides a totally winning entertainment experience for the audience. They have a constant Tango & Cash-esque banter that continues the entire time. Importantly, they're not bickering. To the movie's eternal credit (and the relief of the audience), the two men do not bicker. There's funny banter, and that makes all the difference.

If nothing else, Byron Allen deserves credit for introducing the "Black Nerd" to American television with his David Brockman character. He beat Urkel to the punch by many years. Brockman, with his hiked-up pants, high-pitched voice, and willingness to help others but always getting into a whole heap o'trouble, will make you think that at any moment he'll squeal, "Did I do that?" The crucial difference to remember, however, is that Brockman is not annoying. At least not most of the time. His winning smile and his easy manner (when he's not brandishing the aforementioned shotgun) will charm viewers, most likely, and Durning has his own way about him that meshes well with him.

Of course, all the staples of the late 80's buddy cop movie are here, such as fruit-cart car chases, the classic WYC, shootouts, punch-ups, guitar wails on the soundtrack, and of course the humor. There's really nothing not to love about Case Closed. It's a gem.

Featuring a soundtrack with a main theme that is definitely "inspired" by Faltermeyer's Axel F, all the ingredients are here. It's impossible to imagine that this was a pilot to a TV show that the network suits passed on. What more were they expecting? Case Closed delivers the goods as much as a TV pilot possibly can. Well, that just goes to show that the corporate stooges at the networks don't always know best. Or make the right decisions. Or know anything, really.

In another instance of "what were they thinking?", Case Closed never received a home video release in America on any format. It did in several countries worldwide, but not here. Since 1988, the rest of the global community must be still scratching their heads, wondering why this Byron Allen fellow never made more movies of this sort and became a full-fledged action star. That mystery remains, but let's just say that Allen has done pretty well for himself in the meantime. At least we all have Case Closed as a window to another time...and what might have been.

On a happier note, check out Case Closed. You'll have a great time!

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty

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