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Paramount Studios presents
Target (1985)

"Old speedy? Slow and steady wins the race."
- Chris Lloyd (Matt Dillon)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: June 22, 2005

Stars: Gene Hackman, Matt Dillon
Other Stars: Gayle Hunnicutt, Josef Sommer
Director: Arthur Penn

MPAA Rating: R for (adult language, violence)
Run Time: 01h:52m:08s
Release Date: June 14, 2005
UPC: 097368889149
Genre: action

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C B+D+B- D-

DVD Review

The great Gene Hackman has been very choosy about his acting roles lately, so what better time than now to revisit some of his best performances. Once such turn was in the 1985 thriller Target, costarring Matt Dillon. This is kind of a "lost" Hackman performance, as he is more widely know for his work in Superman, The French Connection, and Unforgiven. Still his subdued work in the film shouldn't be missed, and features a nice blend of features from his more memorable characters.

Walter Lloyd (Hackman) is a normal suburbanite that generally keeps to himself. Walter has a lovely wife (Gayle Hunnicutt) and level-headed son, Chris (Dillon). Things are soon turned upside-down when Mrs. Lloyd comes up missing while in Paris. Beside themselves, Walter and Chris go to France to find her, and discover that she has been kidnapped. When Chris discovers that Walter's previous job has something to do with his mom's capture, his feelings about his father and everything he has known in the past change dramatically.

The wonderful chemistry between Hackman and Dillon is what propels this film, which isn't exactly great, but definitely worth revisiting after 20 years. Hackman's veteran acting chops are a huge asset, as he perfectly embodies the fatherly aspects of his character, while seamlessly switching between the other dynamics as well. The big reveal as to who Walter Lloyd is and/or was is handled well, and actually elevates the film and Hackman and Dillon's work, where plot twists in similar films leave them with nothing left to say.

The villains of the movie aren't your normal dimb-witted guys who seem to jump in front of every bullet and make all of the wrong moves. Instead, they seem to actually have brains, keepign the Lloyds on their toes as they try to track down their loved one. Unfortunately, there's a little too much talk and not enough action for this type of film. The pacing also could have been tightened a bit, and a couple of dozen minutes shaved off of the running time, but the overall editing is adequately handled.

Arthur Penn (Bonnie & Clyde) directed the film, and he gives it a nice, albeit, unoriginal look and feel. It pretty much looks like every 80s espionage thriller, from Gotcha! to Cloak & Dagger. Still, Target manages to stand out from those pictures as one of the more exciting entries in this genre, at least for its time.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: This 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer isn't among Paramount's best. There's far too many problems, including excessive dirt and grain, resulting in soft, hardly detailed images during most of the film. The age of the source material is more than likely the cause of these problems, but a bit more restoration would have been nice.

Image Transfer Grade: D+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: There's Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio to choose from, with the 5.1 surprisingly opening things up quite a bit. Directionality kicks the surrounds into high gear during the heavy action sequences, and there's even a few instances where some solid bass comes into play. The dialogue is crisp and clear in both mixes, blending in nicely with the rest of the sound.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 15 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: There aren't any extras at all on this disc.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

A forgotten mini-gem of a spy thriller, 1985's Target combines performances from a couple of today's best-known actors, Gene Hackman and Matt Dillon. The DVD isn't bad, with a slightly below average video transfer, a solid, Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, but no extras at all.


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