11 July 2012

Collision Course

United States - 1989
Director - Lewis Teague
HBO Video, 1992, VHS
Run Time - 1 hour, 39 minutes 

It might be sadly noted that Collision Course merely caps one phase of the ongoing buddy-cop cycle. Coming as it did at the end of the 80's, it would seem to mark the end of the era when the formula could legitimately be taken at least somewhat seriously. Within a couple of years, the genre would be actively autocannibalizing in a frenzy of self-referential degradations that boggle even the most callused mind.

But, by brazenly condemning itself to near-instant obscurity with a plot lifted from an all too brief moment of history, Collision Course happily embraces its fate. As the American auto industry was breathing the last of its hegemonic gasps, racial tension in the USA was at its feature-length comedy finest. So fine that it could afford to hire the likes of Pat Morita and Jay Leno for a little stereotype-pantomiming and good-natured bigotry double-act routine. While primarily concerned with this crude, groan-inducing send-up that Leno is so suspiciously good at, the film does actually dip its pen oh so briefly into real-life before skimming its way to the manichaean Oriental conspiracy toilet.

The welcome addition of battle hardened second-stringers Ernie Hudson and Soon-Tek Oh make the going a little more bearable too. Hey, you've got to look for the good stuff in every one of these things as they flicker across the screen. By the time it was released in the US some three years after completion, Collision Course would would be even more esoteric, ushering in that new cycle of buddy cops that would be the lifesblood of my own blessed generation in the years to come.

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