(John Flynn, USA, 1992)


When cult superstar Dennis Hopper kicked the drugs and booze in the '80s, he made it clear that his new fixation was work – he was henceforth available to act in absolutely anything.

Hopper now brings his distinctive blend of gritty professionalism and improvisational madness to some of the queerest genre films on video. If you can imagine Dennis taking on a Dirty Harry-type role, but doing his damnedest to pepper his performance with cool, anti-establishment rantings, you'll have some idea what to expect from Nails.

Hopper is Harry Niles, a greasy, amoral cop who loses his partner in a shoot-out and immediately takes solace in the arms of Anne Archer, whose bedhead is adorned with a pilfered police siren.

Between sessions with his mistress, his loyal dog and the heat he gets at the cop shop, Niles pursues his partner's murderers with a demented sense of vengeance.

Director John Flynn made the terrific Best Seller (1987) with James Woods, but he is able to do little with such routine action material. Hopper does his best work here in the nude.

© Adrian Martin October 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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