Quiet Cool (1986)
Quiet Cool (1986)

Genre: Action Running Time: 1 hr. 20 min.

Release Date: November 7th, 1986 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Clay Borris Actors: James Remar, Adam Coleman Howard, Daphne Ashbrook, Jared Martin, Nick Cassavetes, Joey Sagal, Chris Mulkey, Fran Ryan




azzy saxophone riffs introduce a title sequence full of still photographs that clumsily slide into view. It’s a particularly lazy, unfashionable intro, though it does establish that the film will have something to do with weed, since the images shift from a shoreline to a forest to various marijuana plants. The hero is introduced in a similarly generic way, shown groggily awaking, sprawled off-kilter across his bed, with a box of pizza teetering off the edge, about to fall onto the floor.

Joe Dylanne (James Remar) is a New York police officer, though it’s difficult to know, since he’s further fleshed out by living in a shabby studio apartment, with his motorcycle parked in the kitchen area. And when he grabs a stale slice of pizza and crams it into his mouth, it’s even less apparent that he’ll prove to be a formidable law enforcer. When he finally hits his beat, he stumbles upon a thief (who happens to be black), whom he tails through the city, first on the sidewalk and then into the subway system. It just might be the first motorcycle/roller skates chase sequence, designed as if to mirror the classic pursuits of “Bullitt” and “The French Connection.” In many ways, however, it spoofs them instead.

Meanwhile, Rachel (Pauletta Walsh) and Stephen Greer (Gregory Wagrowski) are caught in the area of a large crop of marijuana plants near the rural city of Babylon, California (dope capital of the Northwest). They’re mercilessly slaughtered by a team of distinct thugs (one with jet-black hair [Nick Cassavetes], one dressed in black leather, one with glasses, and one with platinum blonde hair, all led by an older man), which also captures teenage son Joshua (Adam Coleman Howard). They tie him up and throw him off a cliff, though the convenient trees below cushion his fall. Stephen was Katy Greer’s (Daphne Ashbrook) brother; and Katy is Joe’s former girlfriend. He’s a good person to know in this situation, as he’s just a phone call away, and he’s not afraid to take a spontaneous vacation, flying across the country to Katy’s storefront for an unofficial investigation into the disappearance of the Greer family.

“You’re a brave man … with a gun!” As if following the crime thriller playbook, Joe quickly gets into a bar brawl, has a run-in with the corrupt local lawman (Jared Martin), and then climbs into bed with the anxious Katy. Eventually, he’ll wrestle with the marijuana growers and uncover the malefactor at the top of the organization, but not before behaving rather recklessly in the face of obvious killers (the whole town is overrun by gangsters, and everyone knows who they are) and nearly dying a few times. “Quiet Cool” also includes the obligatory moment of a stooge getting injured by his own boss (to demonstrate the villain’s evilness), and the girl getting stalked by the sheriff while Joe is away.

Despite its short runtime, the action sequences are rather repetitive. There’s only so much scampering around in the woods (like a second-rate Rambo) that viewers can take, especially when nameless henchmen are the opposition and the primary weapons are guns. A motorcycle chase down the mountainside provides a few amusing stunts, while plenty of things are destroyed and lots of people are slain, but the focus on consistent carnage dulls the intrigue of the characters. Since the acting is mediocre to begin with, it’s not a stretch to dismiss the one-note protagonists, yet it’s disappointing that Dylanne isn’t more charismatic, Joshua isn’t more convincingly self-sufficient, and Katy isn’t more than just a victim. The finale boasts a hint of suspense (once again due to contrived concepts, such as the fuse on an explosive device managing to extinguish itself prematurely), conveniently delayed reactions (such as goons blurting taunts rather than simply shooting the heroes), and a Western-styled showdown in the middle of the street (one of the shops even has saloon-like doors) – as well as a bit of a surprise reveal and a welcome dispatching of virtually the entire town. On top of that, it closes with a song entitled “Quiet Cool” by Joe Lamont.

– Mike Massie

  • 4/10