The Real McCoy Review

Anthony Nield has reviewed Optimum’s Region 2 release of The Real McCoy, a lacklustre mid-nineties Kim Basinger effort given an equally poor presentation.

The Real McCoy is one of those rare films which sees Kim Basinger taking the sole lead role as opposed to sharing top billing (Final Analysis, Nine ½ Weeks) or playing variations of the Bond girl she essayed in Never Say Never Again (Batman, No Mercy). Indeed, given such billings it is like that the choice of The Real McCoy was solely in order to satisfy this aim, but then it’s also an odd one.

Basinger plays Karen McCoy, currently on parole having served six years of a jail sentence for bank robbery. She finds readjustment to life on the outside difficult especially as she has a son who believe her dead and villain of the piece Terence Stamp demanding she carry out one last job.

This heist is The Real McCoy’s highpoint, one that seems curiously old-fashioned when compared to the elaborate nature of the post Mission: Impossible escapades we see nowadays (though the film is barely 12 years old), but also a slick affair. Understandably so given that Russell Mulcahy, a director whose forte has always been action, is at the helm – it’s just a shame that has difficulty with the rest. Not that this is his worst film (remember Blue Ice?), but he’s severely hampered by a poorly thought-out screenplay.

The major problem is that The Real McCoy isn’t exactly sure as to what kind of film it hopes to be and as such its various components are inevitably compromised. At first it seems to be paying some lip service towards the social problems of female convicts (admittedly in the most rudimentary of manners), but this is soon abandoned and feels more like filler than anything else once the main plot kicks in. Likewise the appearance of Val Kilmer would appear to be an attempt to provide some comic relief (as well as romantic interest), but again this is left in the lurch once the plot requires, rather miraculously, that he should no longer be acting the idiot.

Even more muddled is the handling of Basinger herself. On the one hand she’s playing a professional bank robber and as such is given a decidedly macho edge – she’s even allowed to throw a few punches – until, that is, the heist comes about at which time it is decreed that she needs a group of males to give her a hand. More indicative of The Real McCoy’s patronising edge, however, is the fact that a female lead has been created solely to allow for a subplot consisting of tug-of-love schmaltz. Indeed, all the film adds to heist/caper genre is an ample helping of sentimentality.

The Disc

Oddly, Optimum have decided to release The Real McCoy in pan-and-scan form, thereby cropping the original ratio of 1.85:1. Moreover, the print itself is showing signs of age with the colours quite visibly having faded and struggling to provide much definition during the more darkly lit scenes. The soundtrack fares better and supplies the original stereo, yet never does anything to truly impress and as such is no more than adequate. As for extras, the disc offers only a chapter index.

Anthony Nield

Updated: Apr 17, 2005

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