Released: Mar 01st, 1990
Running Time: 100
Director: Buck Adams
Company: VCA Pictures
Cast: Jerry Butler, Buck Adams, Raven Richards, Ray Victory, Victoria Paris, Tracey Adams, Peter North, Aja (I)
Critical Rating: AAAA
It's hard to say whether writer/director/actor Buck Adams has seen too much or too little of Miami Vice. Legal Tender is either a straight-laced parody of the stylish cop show, or a reverent emulation. I can't tell.
It has guns, drugs, sex, macho posturing, sex and more guns, though not necessarily in that order. It's about a recently released crook (Butler) who's back to make a big score and wipe out some old "friends". The cop team on his trail are played by Adams and North, in the naughty and nice mold (Adams being the naughty one – he doesn't shave). The dialogue is vague (though a very good score by Barry Box), but I actually think that was Buck's intention. Miami Vice was often vague itself.
If this sounds like a putdown, let me clear the air straight away. This is a first rate quality production replete with location shoots, props, impressive stuntwork and spectacular eroticism. When was the last time you even saw an airplane or helicopter in an adult feature, let alone one madly chasing the lead character down the desert highway? Sexually, Buck and Victoria Paris share two heated sessions that deserve merit for ferocity, and the opening sequence with Raven Richards giving head to the hit man under the dashboard of his truck in a scene-stealer.
Although the resolution of Legal Tender leaves something to be desired in a thematic way, we should all support this kind of quality production, and perhaps the next episode could be – dare I say it – shot on real 35mm? A crime if it weren't. This one has great packaging featuring Victoria. A definite hit.