The Adventures of Ford Fairlane + Yello’s Electro Pop

June 3, 2015 | By

After submitting my short film, BSV 1172, to TIFF just in time for the last-last deadline this past Friday, I took a few days to unwind before moving on to several reviews that have been in stasis for a while.

First up is The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990), new on Blu from Anchor Bay in a bare bones release that should please fans with its transfer and price point. Fairlane was one of several high-profile films from Joel Silver, the iconic producer who established a high-gloss type of action-comedy genre during the late 1980s / early 1990s with mega-hit such as Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, and Predator.

Fairlane was a bit more than a misfire, but it’s maintained a modest cult status for being an example of bawdy, guilty pleasure excess, and what was supposed to be the formal big screen launch of Andrew Dice Clay as an action-comedy star. The comedian-turned-actor ran into an assortment of controversies between 1989 and 1990, leaving Fox with a very costly picture that probably didn’t make back its money until home video.



Original poster that’s a high point in late 80s / early 90s graphic design selling the film’s private eye story than star.



Variation designed to sell its star as someone cool, hip, and fun in a self-depracating riff on the pulp detective genre.



The P.R. fix, trying to give a wry spin on Andrew Dice Clay’s controversies and earn its studio and producers a little bit of a return on their costly investment.


That’s where I ‘discovered’ the film, ‘snapping’ up the laserdisc which sported outstanding surround sound and great bass. The disc was oft-played because like many of Fox’ lasers (including Die Hard), it was a great test disc for a home theatre system when Dolby Pro Logic (4.0 surround sound) was the high standard. To test out a system, you need bass, explosions, loud music, and elaborate sound effects, and Fairlane delivered a good dose of the first three, especially with Yello’s catchy / goofy music that matched the cartoon vulgarity of Silver’s production.

Renny Harlin direction’s undoubtedly led to him being parachuted to direct Die Hard 2 based on his skill with 2.35:1 ‘scope visuals and knack for crafting solid action montages, and many of the cast members went on to bigger and better things… but Clay’s film career never really took off, which undoubtedly pleased his critics. I never got his comedy material – his Diceman persona resembled a crude, misogynistic Rodney Dangerfield impersonation – but he was a decent actor in the right material.

My review of Fairlane is not a defense of Clay but more of a shorty essay on how and where the film fits within Joel Silver’s C.V., and as you’ll find there are a lot of cast and crew personnel with coincidental and deliberate connections, perhaps proving how related work can lead to typecasting of sorts, and when you’re hot in one genre, you just keep getting similar offers.

I’ve also added a review of Yello: Electro Pop Made in Switzerland, a 2005 documentary on the music duo who gave the world “Oh Yeah.” The hour-long film by Anka Schmid was made for Swiss TV, and is only available online via YouTube in a German dubbed version.



Coming next: Yul Brynner is teased by Gina Lollobrigida in Solomon and Sheba, new on Blu via Twilight Time.




Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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