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The Blue Iguana
The Blue Iguana
Actors: Dylan McDermott, Jessica Harper, James Russo, Pamela Gidley, Yano Anaya
Director: John Lafia
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Mystery & Suspense
R     2006     1hr 30min

A poor excuse for a bounty hunter is out to get rich by helping the I.R.S. recover $20 million from a crooked little South American bank. Crossing the border, he feels right at home in the Blue Iguana Bar which is crawling...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Dylan McDermott, Jessica Harper, James Russo, Pamela Gidley, Yano Anaya
Director: John Lafia
Creators: John Lafia, Alejandra Hernández Esquivel, Angel Flores Marini, Magdalena Rangel, Michael Kuhn, Nigel Sinclair, Othon Roffiel
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Paramount
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 05/23/2006
Original Release Date: 04/22/1988
Theatrical Release Date: 04/22/1988
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Killer Kitsch
Lawrence Waldron | Queens, NY United States | 06/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I was just watching Desperado with Antonio Banderas for the third or fourth time and it occured to me that this dangerous Mexican saloon town formula goes way back to the eighties (or maybe even before) and that there was a stylish movie I saw over a decade ago in the theater that was the quintessence of that whole "Urban Spaghetti Western" as I call it. That movie was the Blue Iguana, a movie where the women are as dangerous as they are delectable, the stone-faced hombres will kill you for your shoes, the fuzz are as obsessive as they are incompetent and life is cheaper than drugstore chocolate. Movies like the Blue Iguana are really Film Noir but set in sun-scorched (in this case tropical) frontier towns. They are loaded with gangster/cowboy kitsch in front of a filigree of Flamenco. I think I'm gonna paint my living room lime green, get some red, wooden furniture and chill with this cult classic!"
"Fact is, mister, the only thing worth nothing around here i
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 09/29/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I think I was one of the few people to actually see The Blue Iguana (1988) back when it was originally released to theaters and for the life of me I can't remember what motivated my friends and myself to choose this film over any number of theatrically released features playing at the same time. I'm thinking it's because we were all finally able to get into an `R' rated film at the time, and this may have been the only `R' rated feature playing. In any case, I'm glad I saw it way back when because it's always stuck in the back of my mind, enough so for me to pick it up on DVD. Written and directed by John Lafia (Child's Play 2, Man's Best Friend) the film stars a very young Dylan McDermott (Hamburger Hill, "The Practice"), Pamela Gidley (Dudes, Cherry 2000), and perennial on screen bad guy James Russo (The Cotton Club, Bad Girls). Also appearing is Jessica Harper (Inserts, Suspiria), Tovah Feldshuh (Brewster's Millions), Dean Stockwell (Blue Velvet, "Quantum Leap"), Flea aka Michael Peter Balzary (The Big Lebowski), from the group The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Yano Anaya, whom fans of films from the 1980s may recognize as the kid who played the characters Grover Dill from A Christmas Story (1983) and the Paperboy ("I want my two dollars!") from Better Off Dead... (1985).

McDermott plays Vince Holloway, a down on his luck bounty hunter (he prefers the term `recovery specialist') whose found himself in deep with the IRS due primarily to the fact those bail jumpers he tries to retrieve usually end up dead, so, as a result, he doesn't get paid. After another `incident', IRS agents Vera Quinn (Feldshuh) and Carl Strick (Stockwell) offer Vince a deal, one that includes heading to a south of the border outlaw town called Diablo and recovering 20 million dollars, and for his troubles, Vince will net a cool million. The dough, it seems, is in a heavily fortified bank run by a woman named Cora (Harper), who specializes in laundering money garnered from illicit activities, and is scheduled to be moved due to the fact that the leading of the local smuggling ring, a real psychotic named Reno (Russo) is planning on taking control of the entire town, including the bank. Anyway, Vince arrives in Diablo and takes up residence at The Blue Iguana, a hotel/bar run by a blonde femme fatale named Dakota (Gidley), who happens to be Reno's ex-girlfriend, and begins scoping out the situation. Along the way Vince gains some partners, specifically in an orphan named Yano, who seems to have access to everything including some heavy duty ordinance, and Dakota, who threatens to spills the beans about Vince's plan is she doesn't get a cut (she wants to get out of town while the getting is good). Vince eventually gets access to the money, after pitting various sides against each other, but that was the easy part...the hard part now is getting out of a town where `the only thing worth nothing around here is your life'.

While I found the movie, which was shot on location in Mexico, entertaining (it comes off like a seriously toned down David Lynch film i.e. where Lynch is weird this is weird light), it certainly won't be to everyone's tastes. There is a definite `noir' quality present, but given the slightly comedic elements interspersed throughout, I don't think it was meant to be taken all that seriously. None of the performances particularly stood out as stellar, and McDermott, while doing a decent enough job, seemed an ill fit for the role, slightly unsure of himself at times (this was the first time, I believe, he had the exclusive lead in a film). Actually, I think Dean Stockwell, who had a relatively minor part, might have been a better choice for McDermott's role, but then that's just my opinion. I thought Pamela Gidley did well in her part, as she seemed straight out of a film from the 1940s in terms of her appearance and mannerisms. As far as Russo, I can't begin to count the number of times I've seen him play the psychotic villain bit. The one bit that did put me off a little was Tovah Feldshuh's character of IRS agent Vera Quinn as she took that whole `butcher than butch' routine way over the top, but, like Stockwell, she really didn't have much screen time so it's a negligible aspect. As I said there are a comedic undertone throughout, but nothing that caused me to break out in laughter, except maybe for the scene when Flea, who played one of Reno's henchmen, is dancing spastically in the bar and someone turns off the tunes much to his indignation. I did like the dialogue (especially Vince's internal monologue) and writer/director Lafia does keep things moving along, at least up until the end when things sort of trail off as if once he got to a certain point in the film, he couldn't figure out how to close it out. The element I think I found most interesting, besides authentic location shots, was the eclectic assortment of songs used to score the movie, including works by James Brown, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, L.A. Guns, The Fat Boys, The Del Vikings, and Kurtis Blow, to name a few. As I mentioned earlier, the film is rated `R' mainly due to some violence and strong language (there's no nekkidness if that's what you're keen on). All in all the film does have its faults, but in the end it is fun, worth a rental at least, if you're interested in something slightly different.

The picture, presented in widescreen (1.85:1), enhanced for 16X9 TVs, looks clean and comes across well, while the audio, presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround, comes through clearly. As far as extras there's really nothing available except for English subtitles.


One last thing, as far as Yano Anaya and his character, natty, poorly beaded cornrows is not, never was, and never will be a good look for a Caucasian person. Bo Derek had them in the movie 10 (1979) and even she couldn't pull it off but I was willing to let her slide due to the fact she was so incredibly hot and nubile, two qualities not possessed by Yano Anaya, at least in my eyes...
Maybe timing does mean everything??
C F | Red Deer | 04/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A couple days ago at like 2 AM, I was soooooo bored... so I sat down in front of my good friend the television and this movie had just barely started. Maybe it was just because I didnt' want to flip by anymore fat trapper infomercials, but I found myself totally hooked! Dylan's character was so unbelievably suave, and his sarcastic humor made me laaaaaaaaugh :D but then again I always laugh harder when affected by lack of sleep.. ~L~ but either way, I found this movie funny as hell."
Great Movie
Howlin Wolf Fan | Omaha, NE | 04/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This movie has no middle ground. You'll either love it or hate it. I love it! It's offbeat, wierd, and kooky. Yeh, kooky! If you like Repo Man and Suburbia from the Eighties, then you'll love this movie. It's an indie no doubt about it."