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MOVIE REVIEW : Curtis on Target in ‘Prime Target’

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Tony Curtis is the ultimate pro. In recent years the pictures have gotten smaller, but he continues in top form no matter what the circumstances. A case in point is “Prime Target,” which opened citywide Friday without press previews.

He’s been cast as a garrulous, witty Mafia chieftain being transported cross-country by a twangy, redneck small-town cop (David Heavener), suspended from the force for wasting four suspects, but hired by the FBI to make sure Curtis arrives safely to testify in an organized crime trial.

There’s a variation on “Midnight Run” in this situation, and Curtis works up some amusing byplay between his suave urban crook and the humorless, hairy-chested cop, but the film is literally shot down by Heavener’s heavy-handed emphasis on gunfire, violence and overreaching double-crosses.

Heavener, after all, is not only the film’s star but also its writer-director-producer who furthermore composed the seven songs he sings on the sound track; he’s best by far as a singer-composer.

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In this crude, numskull turkey (rated R for some sex, much violence), which features Isaac Hayes, Andrew Robinson, Robert Reed and Don Stroud, all doing the best they can, Curtis is supposed to be the bad guy but you’d be lots better off doing business with him than Heavener’s trigger-happy cop.

‘Prime Target’

David Heavener: John Bloodstone

Tony Curtis: Marrietta Coppela

Isaac Hayes: Captain Tompkins

Andrew Robinson: Commissioner Garth

Robert Reed: Agent Harrington

A Hero Films presentation. Writer-producer-director David Heavener. Executive producer Gerald Milton. Cinematographer Peter Wolf. Editor Charles Coleman. Costumes Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxx. Music Robert Garrett. Art director Peter Gum. Set decorator Lauree Statter. Sound Jeffrey Douglas. Running time: 1 hour, 85 minutes.

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MPAA-rated R (for violence and sensuality).


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