Best Defense Review
Wylie Cooper (Dudley Moore) believes that a new super-tank he designed is a real lemon on treads. T.M. Landry (Eddie Murphy) is the Army grunt who puts Cooper's tank to the acid test during combat in Kuwait two years later. Via some choice flashbacks, Cooper works furiously to correct the design flaws before the tank is rushed into production. Question is, will he work out the kinks before Murphy gets behind the wheel?
First off, let me start by saying that I liked the idea behind the plot of this film and felt that it was a good base for a story. That said the story of this film was very poorly executed and the constant going back and forth between the two points in time of the story felt very clunky. Had they focused on one point of view , and then showed the other towards the end of the film it would have been more enjoyable.
The parts of the story that focused on Dudley Moore's character were entertaining, but it felt like there was so much going on with it that it got to the point of me not caring enough to keep up with it. Not only did you have him working as an engineer, you then had him getting mixed up with a KGB agent and then the U.S. Government and finally he turns around in the end and takes his job seriously. In the end this portion of the movie is just a jumbled mess that feels like it has 2 different film plots combined into this one film.
Eddie Murphy's side of the story, as brief as it is , was some of the most entertaining bits of the film. I think it says a lot when the most entertaining parts of your movie are the flash forwards that only make up maybe 25 minutes of the film. This portion of the film made me wonder why this wasn't its own movie, especially considering Murphy's popularity in the 80's and how many military comedies were being made at the time.
The acting in the film was actually pretty entertaining. Moore was his usual charming self and while his jokes were hit or miss, he did provide a few good laughs. Kate Capshaw turned in a great performance as Mrs. Cooper and had good chemistry with Dudley. Helen Shaver on the other hand didn't have much of a spark with Moore, but put on a good performance nonetheless.
There were a few things I did like about this film, despite it being the mess that it was. Dudley Moore's performance was good, but towards the end when his character was determined to solve this issue with the DIP device, that was when I really enjoyed his acting. Had the whole film had him being a little more serious with a more deadpan delivery it would have been much more entertaining.
Another thing that I really liked was the character interaction. It really felt like how people interact in the real world work environment. The conversations that Wylie and Steve Loparino (George Dzundza) had, felt genuine and were hilarious at points.
Even though there were things that I enjoyed about the movie, there are two sides to that coin and there were things that I didn't like. First this movie was a mess with its plot layout. Going between two points in time over the course of the film was annoying to me and really interrupted the story as it was getting good. It should have focused on Moore's character, then showed the results with Murphy. Also I really found the scenes with the KGB agent to be pointless and it really didn't add anything to the film. Had this been taken out it would have left more room to improve in other areas.
Overall this is an average film, but it does have a few laughs. Even being an average film, some people might find the movie entertaining for what it is. Personally though I can't recommend this film, it just wasn't that good in my opinion. If you want a military comedy about building a super-tank, check out "The Pentagon Wars", it was more entertaining and funnier in my opinion.
Verdict: Decent enough film, but nothing much to brag about.