Tag: The Hidden

April 4, 2007 / / Film Notes

Released in 1987, The Hidden makes no apologies for being what it is: a gritty genre flick out for a joy ride, replete with action set pieces and over-the-top violence (nine out of ten fans will use the word “flamethrower” when asked to offer a brief description of the picture’s content). We aren’t ten minutes in when the first big chase starts, complete with a car hurtling into a sheet of plate glass and the two men who are carrying it across the street. The high octane action of The Hidden is also anchored by that time-honored movie stand-by: a pair of mismatched buddy cops, reluctant partners who bond en route to saving the day. So what makes it special – more memorable than the dozens of other films in the same vein that loaded up video store selves in the 1980s, shiny guns and bright orange explosions splashed across cardboard sleeves on rows of VHS tapes? Part of the appeal of The Hidden is that it embodies these familiar genre tropes with great energy and humor, clipping along at a good brisk pace and topping everything off with a nifty sci-fi twist. Michael Nouri plays Tom Beck, an L.A. cop and family man investigating a string of crime sprees in the city. A young Kyle MacLachlan, fresh from his descent into the suburban hell of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet and a few years away from his defining role as Special Agent Dale Cooper on Lynch’s TV oddity Twin Peaks, also stars as one of our heroes. Like Cooper, MacLachlan’s character here carries an FBI badge, but in this case it’s only a cover – his Agent Gallagher is actually a benign alien who’s hunting down the murderous body-switching extraterrestrial creature that killed his family. Beck and Gallagher’s uneasy partnership is the heart of the film and punctuated by great bits of winking humor (When Beck’s wife asks Gallagher where he’s from, he simply points upwards. “What’s that?” she asks, “North?”), but the body-switching villain that gives the film its title is well worth examining as well.