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THE PRESIDIO. Directed by Peter Hyams; written by Larry Ferguson; produced by D. Constantine Conte for Paramount. Starring Mark Harmon, Sean Connery and Meg Ryan. Rated R (language, violence, sexual references and a brief, rather un-graphic sex scene).


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Sean Connery looks great in a uniform. Mark Harmon looks great in blue jeans. Meg Ryan looks great in a black mini-dress. None of this is exactly news, but for some viewers, these statements may be reason enough to see The Presidio.

The attractiveness of its individual stars, plus a couple of spectacular chases (one by auto, one on foot) are about all it has going for it. The cops-and-robbers storyline is predictable and hokey. And the Harmon/Connery pairing, for all their individual charisma, never quite clicks.

The story's location is a fresh one, if its angle—that of two different kinds of cops clashing over turf—isn't particularly original. An Army M.P. is killed investigating a break-in on the Presidio, a scenic base in the heart of San Francisco. During the chase after the suspects, a San Francisco Police Department officer is also killed. So, both jurisdictions, represented by Provost Marshall Caldwell (Connery) and police inspector Austin (Harmon), have a stake in the case.

To further complicate matters, Austin and Caldwell's daughter Donna (Ryan) meet and it's lust at first sight. Oh, yeah, and Austin used to be an M.P. under Caldwell, but quit after getting busted in rank. So the Colonel's not too crazy about him being involved with his daughter.

Both the action sequences and the intense personal scenes are filmed well. But they don't mesh together into a coherent picture. And there's not enough of either one. Action buffs will probably get bored with the "talky" scenes. But the characters aren't developed fully enough (nor are Harmon and Ryan's scenes steamy enough) to satisfy viewers who want either a good drama or a torrid romance.

June 22, 1988

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