Cop Target (1990)


Cop Target (1990)- * * *1\2

Directed by: Umberto Lenzi

Starring: Robert Ginty, Charles Napier, Nina Sue Borrel, Barbara Bingham, and Arthur The Cat

Farley Wood (Ginty) is a Miami cop who may be getting close to the edge. His only friend is his cat, Arthur. Wood has a gigantic contraption in his apartment that can automatically provide Arthur with food, water, and, presumably, cat litter. This device is going to come in handy, because Wood is assigned to go to the tropical island of San Cristobal and he can't always be home to tend to Arthur personally. His assignment is to act as bodyguard and escort to Deborah Kent (Bingham), and her young daughter Priscilla (Borrel). They're scheduled to attend some fancy function, and there is a possible terrorist threat against them.

Things take a turn for the worst when Priscilla is kidnapped by the evil baddies in question. Even though his superiors tell him to leave the case to the proper authorities, Wood goes rogue in his attempt to get Priscilla back. An American embassy official named John Granger (Napes) is also involved. As Wood peels back the onion of this case, he slowly discovers dirty dealings, corrupt dealings, and political dealings, which are all pretty much the same thing. With all the terrorist guns trained against him, will Farley Wood manage to prevent becoming a COP TARGET?

With Cop Target, we have three of our favorite people together: Umberto Lenzi, Robert Ginty, and Charles Napier. We should also mention Jeff Moldovan, who we haven't seen around these parts in a while. God bless Umberto Lenzi. Even in the latter phases of his career, he still managed, seemingly effortlessly, to put together an entertaining romp that's easy to enjoy. While the film slows a bit in the middle (a very common occurrence, especially for this era of the genre), it rallies at the end and has a lot going for it overall.

The Ginty that's here is the Ginty ya want. In an era when Miami cops were all the rage, even his car has unique character. Sonny Crockett drove a black Ferrari Daytona Spyder. Farley Wood drives a beaten-up jalopy that looks to be about thirty seconds away from the car-crusher. However, beneath his gruff exterior, he's a cop with a heart. This is best expressed in his brief scenes with the young girl, Priscilla. It's clear she begins to see him as the father figure she's been missing, and perhaps she is what he is lacking in his own life as well. After all, a robotic cat litter machine can only take you so far. (But what a ride while it lasts). This motivates his drive to, against all odds, retrieve Priscilla from the clutches of the baddies. Also, when we first see her, she's dressed exactly like Madeline, who must have been quite the fashion icon for little girls at that time.

You don't get a ton of Napes, but what you do get is good, and they clearly used his real voice. It would have been a stupid move if they didn't. While his presence doesn't dominate the film, he does get to play an important ace when he ends up being the man behind the exploding helicopter. According to Imdb, the ex-heli is taken from Cobra Mission 2 (1988), and other parts of a car chase were taken from Final Score (1986). This may or may not include the fruit cart. It's tough to tell when cars are running over fruit. Lenzi should be noted for his economy in that sense. Hey, if you're gonna recycle footage, recycle from the best.

Ginty's name in here is Farley, and Napier's is Granger. Could this be a reference to the great actor Farley Granger, who was no stranger to Italian exploitation films - exemplified by Amuck, So Sweet So Dead (both 1972), What Have They Done To Your Daughters? (1974), among others? Or are those names just what Italians think all Americans are called, and those are just typical, common examples? In any case, the film should also get credit for predating American Assassin (2017) by many years, as the beach assault scene in that film seems modeled after the one in Cop Target.

We would say that was a definite, but Cop Target never got a U.S. VHS or DVD release. Sadly, a lot of Italo-Action films at this time suffered a similar fate. Cop Target would have been a perfect release for Lightning Video, or perhaps it should have gotten a clamshell box release on Imperial like Operation Nam (1986). Operation Nam is the U.S. title for Cobra Mission, and Jeff Moldovan also appeared in Cobra Mission 2, from which the exploding helicopter was sourced. See, it all comes back around.

We really believe that fans will rejoice should Cop Target get its long-overdue home video release, hopefully from Severin. Here's a box cover quote for them: It's Ginty! It's Napier! It's Lenzi! It's EXCITEMENT!" Hopefully they use that. If they don't like it, I can come up with others.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty

Also check out a write-up from our buddy, DTVC!

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