When it comes to '80s low-rent urban cop/vigilante movies, I'll admit it, I have no shame. I may be hesitant to admit that I actually enjoyed the 1988 excuse to pay Lee Major's mortgage, KEATON'S COP (also with Abe Vigoda, Don Rickles, and Art LaFleur!), but I will say I've done some serious barrel scraping in my day. Even with a lifetime of experience, nothing has prepared me for LIBERTY & BASH.
Somehow I missed this one back in the day. Maybe it was there and I never noticed it due to O’Keefe-Fatigue Syndrome. You know what I mean. Back in the ‘80s Miles O’Keefe was all over the low-rent Euro scene in more ATOR movies than you could count, a couple of action movies and even took a turn as, of all things, Count Dracula in Anthony Hickox’s first, and in retrospect, best film WAXWORK (1988). Maybe it was just the crushing deluge of tedious and formulaic flicks that finally degenerated into insipid self-parody such as COP AND A HALF (1993). Burt, my brotha, how could you? Ok, we better keep moving or I'm going to deeply digress into that quagmire of suffering and torment.
From here on out (at the 50 minute mark and not a single action sequence), it’s Liberty talking to his friend Bash (Ferrigno), who runs a gymnasium that he uses to toughen up Liberty’s gangbangers (think about that for a moment), or is talking to his girlfriend who finally tells him that she’s pregnant. Oh fuck. It’s the ‘80s. A pregnant girlfriend can only mean one thing… yes, we need to have a frank discussion about the subject of abortion. No, really. Forget about the mob, forget about the cops, forget about the cry-baby gangbangers who need to be taught how to be macho, let’s spend the rest of the movie discussing the Right to Life. Oh, and don’t misunderstand, this is no thoughtful contemplation of the pros and cons of a serious and deeply personal matter. Nope, this weighs in on the issues with all of the contemplative gravity of George Michael’s “Choose Life” t-shirt. Not that George Michael would ever have to worry about that, in any case.
Seriously, what I endured should never be inflicted upon another living soul, or dead one for that matter. First off, if you look closely at the poster it tells you everything you need to know. Painstakingly created in photoshop over a laborious span of several minutes, it is desperately trying to tell you that it’s a classic buddy action flick (it is not), that O’Keefe and Ferrigno are hip-to-hip in a firearm frenzy (they are not), and that it, hopefully, will strike a chord with viewers who desperately wanted a sequel to TANGO & CASH (it did not).
It actually feels like the script was originally a straightforward action flick that was drastically re-written to turn the main plot about Liberty, Jesse and the mob into a sub-plot taking a back seat to the main thrust of the film: relationships, which are good and abortion, which is bad. If you don’t mind a bit of a spoiler, I’ll prove this point by showing you the final showdown. This is literally the biggest action sequence in the movie. I shit you not.