Released: December 22, 1989
Watched: February 28, 2021
100% projecting here: Tango & Cash is a married gay couple.
When Tango & Cash was released, buddy-cop movies was already an established genre. The Odd Couple had already been out for decades. Using penis-size and homophobic allusions to assert one’s masculinity is a tired 80’s trope at this point. In a different movie, it could have turned me off from enjoying the movie. Somehow, the movie makes it work.
Stallone and Russell have a great comfortable chemistry with each other; their characters come across as bickering married couple completely comfortable with their bodies and sexuality. (Cash literally strips his shirt in an elevator surrounded by cops and none of them bats an eye at this.) They enjoy ribbing each other just slightly too much that it does not come across as mean-spirited or emasculating.
By the end of the movie, I was half convinced that Cash wants to bone Tango’s sister as a pseudo-replacement for boning Tango himself. The movie literally ends with their holding hands, grinning at each other with adoration in their eyes.
Beyond the homoeroticism, the movie is just one ridiculous thing after another. It’s a fun roller coaster of action scenes that have no basis in reality. Barely functioning prison with fires and litter all over the floor, where the prisoners have space and freedom to set up an electro-torture scene. Kurt Russell in drag. Final showdown in an booby-trapped warehouse with hall of mirrors. Scheming mob boss with overly-elaborate plans and odd mice-sniffing habit. Teri Hatcher has a fun small role as Tango’s sister who has hilarious weirdly suggestive exchanges with both Tango and Cash. Definitely a movie I’d rewatch often.
Fun Fact: I always thought the word “fubar” was just an PG13 way to spell “fucked up.” This movie taught me that it’s an acronym for “Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.”