The Presidio

  • Directed by Peter Hyams
  • June 10, 1988

A civilian police office must work a case with his former commanding officer, and he also begins dating his former CO’s daughter. The latter sounds like a brilliant idea.

A great deal happens in The Presidio and the focus of the film seems to be more on the interactions of the main three characters with the investigation of the crime that got it all going almost secondary. That might be okay but considering what it all connects to and what the initial crime hides, that leaves things a little lacking and a touch disjointed.

In this story SFPD Detective Jay Austin (Mark Harmon) is confronting his former commanding officer Lt. Col. Alan Caldwell (Sean Connery) who busted him down after he busted superior officer Col. Paul Lawrence (Dana Gladstone). Now he must work with Caldwell to investigate the confusing murder of MP Patti Jean Lynch (Jenette Goldstein) who was Austin’s partner while in the military and present for Lawrence’s arrest. And he decides it is a good idea while conducting his investigation to start dating Caldwell’s daughter Donna (Meg Ryan) because that is good police practice.

That is a lot to pack in a movie and it feels as if bits and pieces of the story are missing. There are scenes here and there where they discuss stuff that has occurred off screen as if it’s a recap. I’m not sure if it was never actually filmed or cut out of the finished product or what but some of those moments would have been ideal to have present within the movie. It would’ve allowed for a little bit more context and characterization.

I’m bothered that Austin seems unfamiliar that is commanding officer has a daughter as well as what happened to the daughter’s mom. I know it’s a bit nitpicky, but I would think he would after a little while know something about his CO. He doesn’t have to have in his possession deep biographical data but that the guy is a widow and has a child might be something that should have come within his purview.

If the rebellious daughter element had been deleted they could have instead focused on the tense relationship between Caldwell and Austin. While it would have moved in a more conventional direction, we could have gotten a much better film. As it is the story waffles between thriller and mismatched buddy cop and mystery and cop romance.

Having said all that the performances are fine. You really can’t go wrong with Sean Connery or Jack Warden who stars as Caldwell’s old friend who it turns out has a few secrets. Mark Harmon pulls off the cocky a-hole cop without coming off as a significant 80s cliché. And Meg Ryan could have that flighty type of personality that she displays here.

In the end The Presidio is not a bad thriller but it’s not a great thriller. It is too short to handle everything that it has going on. A few tweaks here and there and it could’ve been something special. If you happen to come across this, you won’t be disappointed but it’s not something worth searching out.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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