A Courtroom Caper

Robert Redford in Legal Eagles (1986)

With the District Attorney planning to head on in to politics, assistant District Attorney Tom Logan (Robert Redford) is destined to take over. That is until he is ordered to consult with defence lawyer Laura Kelly (Debra Winger) whose client is Chelsea Deardon (Daryl Hannah), a highly unpredictable woman accused of stealing a painting by her late father. As Tom and Laura start investigating things turn out to be much more complicated than they first appear as witnesses show up murdered and Tom's future career is thrown in to jeopardy after he is discovered in bed with someone.

Starting off on a tangent there is a scene in "Legal Eagles" where Tom Logan is in bed and you suddenly realise what a hairy bloke Robert Redford is, from thick hair on his arms to even thicker hair on his chest. Yes I know the hairy nature of Robert Redford has nothing to do with the movie but once seen it is burnt in to your brain especially 30 years later where you barely see any hair on a man's chest when shown on screen. In fact Robert Redford tap dancing and singing along to "Singin' in the Rain" is something else which will be left etched in your brain especially as he pulls it off remarkably well.

Debra Winger in Legal Eagles (1986)

Anyway, beside Robert Redford's memorable performance "Legal Eagles" is a memorable movie as it combines a murder mystery with a bit of comedy caper and reminded me of movies from a bygone era with Redford and Debra Winger delivering the playfulness of their characters comedic romance. Almost every scene they share from a chaotic attempt at a chase scene to just scenes in Tom's apartment had that old fashioned touch of class to the writing and I could have seen Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn making this movie if it had been offered to them a few decades earlier.

But there is also some 80s murder mystery going on in "Legal Eagles" and this side is shall we say text book as we have bad guys, crooked businessmen, henchmen who carry shot guns under their coats and street scenes where people stand around an injured man only to then shout when someone runs off with their wallet. For some this may sound all a little dated but for those who grew up on 80s comedy action it is still all surprisingly entertaining even if it is also admittedly dafter than it needs to be.

In truth I only have one negative when it comes to "Legal Eagles" and that is Daryl Hannah's character, Chelsea. I don't know whether she was written that way or Hannah was directed that way but her character ends up bordering on being wacko. A scene where she sets fire to things in her apartment as some sort of artistic performance is just too weird and out there for this movie.

What this all boils down to is that "Legal Eagles" maybe an 80s movie but it is a movie which should appeal to those who enjoy the comedy capers and screwball comedies of older Hollywood with Robert Redford and Debra Winger bringing that sense of comedy and chemistry to the screen to make this still a lot of fun even now 30 years later.

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