Bullet Points: Parker Kane
Do you remember the 1990 movie that featured an illegal toxic waste dumping by an evil rich guy with the hero getting to know an attractive woman who has a connection to the bad guy? If you were like me you might have been under the erroneous assumption that Men at Work starring Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez was the only movie in 1990 with that particular storyline, but you couldn’t be any more wrong. 1990 also gave us Parker Kane with the titular private investigator Parker Kane played with great aplomb by Jeff Fahey. In what can only be described as the single greatest instance of kismet, I just so happen to have some Bullet Points for a movie that might not be 100% unique (something few movies can claim) but will still entertain your socks off, Parker Kane.
- Parker’s Principles – Parker Kane follows the long tradition of cops/private investigators that play by their own rules in order to get things done. In this case, Parker Kane (Jeff Fahey, Skin Traffik) was a former cop that got kicked off the force because he didn’t much care for following the rules and has now become a PI. Parker Kane lives by principles that he egotistically calls Parker’s Principles, and he is not afraid to do a little fourth wall breaking to let the audience know about his thoughts. Kane works out of the Standing 8 Diner in Long Beach with the owner Kid Lightning (Zeke Mokae) possibly the best chef ever (and former boxing coach to Golden Gloves champeen Kane to boot) Fats (Chino ‘Fats’ Williams, Action Jackson) and waitress April (Marisa Tomei.) When Kane’s good friend Joey Torregrossa (David Caruso, First Blood) is shot right in front of him while playing pool, Kane has a new case that is very personal to him.
- The Goose is Cooked – Kane does a little sleuthing to find out that Joey’s employer Nathan Van Adams (Stellan Skarsgård) was behind the murder. What better way to get close to Van Adams than to get intimate information from Van Adams’ employee Sarah Taylor (Amanda Pays.) It also doesn’t hurt that in the process of getting intimate information about Van Adams requires Kane and Taylor to get intimate themselves. Kane must use all the tools in his arsenal to take down Van Adams, which includes exciting shootouts, sublime disguises and one epic defenestration. All of this pales to the final showdown which takes place at one of the most unique locations in action movie history. Van Adams, like any true supervillain would, buys the most extravagant thing he can think of, and for Van Adams that would be the Hughes H-4 Hercules better known as the Spruce Goose (which at the time of Parker Kane was based in Long Beach.) If you ever wanted to see a shootout in, on, and around the Spruce Goose, Parker Kane is for you.
- The Unrelenting Power – Parker Kane really tries to make Parker Kane one of the coolest cats in film. First they named the movie after him instead giving a name with generic adjective followed by generic noun, like the completely made up Savage Quantity or another inane title of the same ilk. Second, Parker Kane wears a leather jacket, with distinctive tiger and Korea patches, and rides around town on a motorcycle. However, Kane doesn’t just ride a motorcycle, he also drives a Porsche 356 which ups his cool factor. Third, Kane doesn’t have a regular office but he has a booth at the Standing 8 Count Diner. How does everyone know it’s Kane’s? Well, besides the business cards for the diner, Kane has his name on the bottom of the table so when he kicks the ass of people foolish enough to sit there he can stick their face right up under the table to read. Fourth, Kane lives in a waterside loft apartment with a piano and a cat that drinks root beer named DeSoto (Kane rescued the cat from a junkyard, natch.) Fifth and finally, Kane’s ex-wife is a 1990 Gail O’Grady (not that she looks any worse today,) he dates a 1990 Amanda Pays (not that she looks any worse today,) and hangs out with a 1990 Marisa Tomei (not that she looks any worse today.)
Parker Kane is not a perfect movie, but the amount of fun injected to a serious story makes for an enjoyable watching experience. Yes, there are some unnecessary elements that bog down the flow, especially everything to do with Kane’s ex-wife. I still find the note they ended the film on very strange unless the wife story was supposed to be the most important aspect. Parker Kane is a great chance to see some very accomplished actors during a nascent period of the careers and it easy to see why many had better things in their future. The addition of Chino ‘Fats’ Williams, a man that lit up any room he entered, made up for any unnecessary plot elements and was a real bonus to the film. I am glad you brought up bonus, because it is time to end this Bullet Points with a rare treat – Bonus Bullet Points.
- Must See TV – In the U.S. Parker Kane was originally aired on NBC, but there is a cut that is not suitable for U.S. network television. I suggest you find that version.
- Dumb(y)est Name – William Lucking’s character is in the employ of Van Adams and is named Chuck Dumby. That is one terrible name, but still not as bad as Evan Mink or Bone Conn.
- If You Ever… wanted to see a man with a ponytail give Jeff Fahey a shot smack dab in the middle of his butt cheek while calling him a pussycat than Parker Kane is for you.
- Familiar Voice – The one and only Patti LaBelle plays singer Cartier in a role so small and pointless you will be questioning the necessity of her appearance. It must have been part of her NBC A Different World contract.
- Double Entendres Galore – Some quotes that stick out include Parker saying, “I have a dinghy” and a woman staring straight at his crotchal region replying, “I’m sure you do.” The very pithy, “Hold my weiner, I’ll be back.” And the suggestive, “You suck a pretty mean gun. They are going to like you in prison.”