Some Kind of Hero (1982)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Tragi-comedy  |   Release Date - Apr 2, 1982 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Craig Butler

Trying to mix comedy and dead-serious drama is a tricky business, and something that Some Kind of Hero just isn't able to do as effectively as it would like. It doesn't totally fail at it by any means, but this is the kind of trick that has to succeed 100 percent; anything less, and it just doesn't work. Hero is further hampered by a structure that by necessity divides it into what seem like two separate films, with a first act that is at odds with its second act. Adding to its problems is a finale that just doesn't work, coming across as an unconvincing "Hollywood" kind of ending. These flaws in the screenplay are too much for director Michael Pressman, who is unable to find the right tone for Hero, with the result that it ends up a jumbled mess -- this despite some very good dialogue and a lead character that is complexly drawn. The screenplay also provides the fine cast with parts they can sink their teeth into, and no one's teeth are sunk deeper than lead Richard Pryor's. His performance is arguably the best of his career -- compelling, enticing, powerful, screamingly funny, poignant and sympathetic. In a better film, it's the kind of work that leads to awards; here, the showcase around it is too tarnished to allow it to shine, but it's truly impressive nonetheless. Margot Kidder and the rest of the actors also turn in sterling work, but they pale next to Pryor. Hero is a muddled, unsatisfying film, but it's worth catching for its star.