Chasers (1994) – Review

2 Stars

I’m stunned a movie like Chasers was made, it’s so unconventional and full of minor digressions that it’s simply amazing Warner Bros. gave it a nation-wide release. Who did they think was going to show up? Chasers wants to be a throwback to the satirical/message pictures of the 1970s. Instead, it’s a mess of whimsy, illogical motivation, lazy writing and bad casting choices. Tom Berenger is the only one on-screen who seems to understand that he’s in a black comedy.

Navy Shore Patrolman Eddie Devane (William McNamara) is one day away from an honorable discharge. However, Eddie’s actions have been far from honorable. Over the course of his enlistment Eddie has scammed $150,000 in sales from stolen naval supplies. Career servicemen Rock Riley (Tom Berenger) is a twenty year veteran and he doesn’t take kindly to Devane’s un-interested attitude. The men are assigned to a routine prisoner transfer, but this is not your typical convict.

Erika Eleniak (the playboy model, who jumped out of a cake in Under Siege) plays the gorgeous Ensign Toni Johnson, the prisoner that Rock and Eddie must transport to base. However, Toni is determined to escape at every turn. Her frequent attempts are supposed to be comical, but are sometime so silly, I thought they were straight from Willy E. Coyote cartoons. Since McNamara and Eleniak are presumably close in age they apparently have a sexual chemistry, this leads to an awkward sex scene that feels cheap, exploitive and out-of-place with the rest of the picture.

Chasers has moments when it’s breezy pleasures are at the surface, but the film mostly lurks from one interlude to the next without much authenticity or realistic internal logic for the characters. In a movie that positions itself as a comedic take on The Last Detail, the writing needs to be sharper and the casting needs to be spot-on, both are sorely lacking.

Director: Dennis Hopper
Stars: Tom Berenger, Erika Eleniak, William McNamara

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