New York private eye Shamus McCoy likes girls, drink and gambling, but by the look of his flat business can't be too hot. So an offer of $10,000 to finds some diamonds stolen in a daring raid with a flame-thrower is too good to miss. His investigations soon get pretty complicated and rather too dangerous. At least along the way he does get to meet Alexis.
Burt Reynolds feels like he's shot back into the 1940s with this old-fashion, if chaotically bold crime caper story of the 70s and consisting of its era's brutality, as he plays private eye McCoy who is hired on to recover stolen diamonds and find a murderer for a rich eccentric, but what he digs up is something much more dangerous and heavy than simple diamond theft. Pretty much it's a Reynolds starring vehicle (and boy doesn't he test out his pain threshold with the constant beatings, running, tumbling and an almighty tree fall), but the support cast are just as serviceable. A radiant Dyan Cannon is quite fun as McCoy's love interest. Capable show-ins by Joe Santos, Larry Block, Ron Weyand, John P. Ryan and also Kevin Conway along with John Glover has minor parts. The gaudy New York locations are an important character to the film's make-up, as being shot on location helped with its authentic rough and tumble nature. Watching Reynold's going around gathering information, moving from one scene to another in doing anything to get his job done, was always quite amusing. From those hardily slam bang action sequences to chatting up the women and then of course spending quality time in his apartment with his cat. Reynolds uses that ruggedly laid-back charm to good affect and is quick with a smart quip. The narrative is rather crafty in its chain of events, being rather unpredictable and manipulative making out there's more to it than you are originally to believe. Still when comes to its closing, it does feel short-changed. Jerry Goldsmith contributes a playfully breezy music score. An enjoyably offbeat and assured 70s crime joint that's similar in style to the Charles Bronson's "St Ives".
"You're going to beat the sh!t out of me, right?" It's a shame that "Shamus" isn't a better film. It has all of the Reynold's trademarks. There are numerous women, including Dyan Cannon, who fall for his irresistible charm. There are some nice critter scenes with his puss cat. The presence of John P. Ryan should have given the movie a terrific villain. Unfortunately, Ryan is totally wasted as a cartoon like character. Reynolds seems to be constantly running from bad guys who have no concept of how to shoot a moving target. The worst offense of "Shamus" however is the plot, which is so murky that it comes across as nothing more than an afterthought to all the car chasing, and pursuit nonsenses. A disappointment for sure. - MERK a5c7b9f00b
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