Gotcha! (1985) – Review

3 Stars

Gotcha! is the title of this international comedic-thriller, a gem from the cold war era. Named after a college campus paintball game, and later a Video game, Gotcha! tells the Hitchcockian story of an American teenager caught up in the world of spies, KGB agents, and hostile foreign officials. The serio-comic dialogue is witty and the movie doesn’t take its self seriously, even forgoing naming or placing significance on the McGuffin plot device.

Jonathan Moore (Anthony Edwards) is WASP-y UCLA college student, intent on traveling to Europe for spring break, with his roommate Monolo (Jsu Garcia). Their plans are for visits to Paris, Spain, and other famous tourist attractions. Jonathan never envisioned himself in East Berlin and other communist strongholds, narrowly avoiding detention from German soldiers, and being shot at by Russian agents. However, this is exactly the situation he finds himself in after a brief love affair with a mysterious Czechoslovakian woman named Sash (Linda Fiorentino).

A sexual infatuation grows and soon Sasha has persuaded Johnathan to accompany her on a drop in the depths of Communist territory. Realizing, his love is an international spy, Moore finds himself the target of a deadly espionage plot that follows him back to the United States. Back home, in the safety of familiar ground, Jonathan turns the table on his pursuers.

Gotcha! has some clever writing, likable casting, and accurate lampooning of Hitchcock cinema. Jeff Kanew, who showed no real visual style in his previous film Revenge of the Nerds, delivers a funny and entertaining adventure film with many mischievous comedic elements. There is an air of patriotic propaganda about the project, a common quality to most mid-1980s movies, just a bit odd to find a silly throwaway title like this wearing its jingoism so obviously.

Director: Jeff Kanew
Stars: Anthony Edwards, Linda Fiorentino, Alex Rocco

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