Today they demolished 23 cars, 4 motorcycles and 1 apartment building. But don’t call the cops. They are the cops!
A loud, glossy thriller telling the story of two unconventional plain-clothes San Francisco cops on a wild chase when they discover there is a contract out on Red Meyers (Jack Kruschen), the numbers racket boss they are trying to apprehend. In order to bring him to trial, they must first keep him alive.
Freebie Waters (Caan) and Benito “The Bean” Vasquez (Arkin) make an interesting team in a slick movie high on violence and spectacular breakneck car chases.
Defying authority, destroying public property, and endangering bystanders wherever they go, Freebie and Bean barrel through San Francisco like tanks invading enemy territory, resulting in such crazed scenes as a chase that ends with a car zooming off a highway and landing inside an apartment building (long before CGI was even invented).
Hugely tasteless (particularly the flurry of racist jokes from Freebie about The Bean’s Mexican origins) and at times brutally violent, this is a film where most of the characters are treated with contempt.
However, director Richard Rush – who wouldn’t make his next film, The Stunt Man, until six years later – puts so much energetic inventiveness into the turbulence, you’re almost convinced he doesn’t mean it.
A short-lived spinoff TV series from CBS appeared in 1980 with Tom Mason playing Freebie and Hector Elizondo playing Bean.
Benito “The Bean” Vasquez
Consuelo, Bean’s wife