Renegades (1989) starring Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Jami Gertz, Robert Knepper, Bill Smitrovich, Clark Johnson, Peter MacNeill directed by Jack Sholder - movie review on The Movie Scene

Renegades (1989)   2/52/52/52/52/5


Lou Diamond Phillips and Kiefer Sutherland in Renegades (1989)

Sutherland and Phillips Buddy Up

You can sum up "Renegades" by saying Kiefer Sutherland and Lou Diamond Phillips in an unlikely buddy situation go after bad guys, it's daft and demands that you just watch it for the action and the comedy, but nothing else. The thing is the unlikely buddy situation has been used more times than I care to imagine and so whilst we have Sutherland playing an undercover cop trying to wheedle out corruption in the force partnered up with a Native Indian played by Lou Diamond Phillips who is after a stolen lance it ends up being no different to what you will have seen in other buddy movies. You get the comedy of the unlikely buddies and the action where they either chase some baddies or get chased. And the irony of this is that if only the storyline had been more solid rather than the nonsense it is "Renegades" would have probably been more entertaining.

Whilst supposed to be on leave, Philadelphia cop Buster McHenry (Kiefer Sutherland - Young Guns) goes undercover working for criminal Marino (Robert Knepper) as he tries to discover the identity of corrupt cops within the force. But he finds himself in deep trouble when a non violent robbery turns violent with Marino's men not only killing people but also shooting Buster. One of the men who are shot is the brother of Native Indian Hank Storm (Lou Diamond Phillips - La Bamba) who ends up helping Buster to go after Marino especially as a very important Native Indian Lance is stolen during the robbery.

Lou Diamond Phillips and Jami Gertz in Renegades (1989)

So as already pointed out "Renegades" is your basic, unlikely buddy movie a sub genre pretty much done to death and "Renegades" adds nothing new to the formula. As such whilst the lead in may have Buster McHenry going unofficially undercover to try and track down dirty cops finding himself forced to buddy up with Hank Storm, who comes up with these names, what follows comes down to just two things and the storyline isn't one of them. To be honest "Renegades" was never made to have a storyline to tax audiences, it was just a vehicle for Sutherland and Phillips but it is such a poor storyline that it borders on being a joke. From Buster going undercover with a gang of criminals in his own time to the whole mystical Native Indian side it is all pretty corny.

Anyway those two things which "Renegades" is about is the comedy and the action and to be honest neither is that spectacular. The comedy is a little unexpected because the set up has no humour at all, it's not until we get Buster and Hank together that jokes appear from Buster trying to dump Hank to Hank outsmarting him. Actually that pretty much sums up all the humour there is as other than this there are very few funny scenes.

And then there is the action which basically consists of Hank and Buster being chased and shot at or them chasing someone and shooting at them. As such we get the less than surprising car chase scene, there is also some action on a train, a shop which gets shot to pieces and eventually the big climax which happens in the middle of nowhere and is nowhere near as exciting as it should be. Basically the action is the same action which you can see in countless other movies and there is nothing new or different to make it memorable.

But then I guess the reason why most people will watch "Renegades" boils down to Kiefer Sutherland and Lou Diamond Phillips having already starred together in "Young Guns". Well yes in that laid back and totally unrealistic way both Sutherland and Phillips are entertaining and frankly are the best thing about the movie. But then both their characters are as generic and boring as they come with both Sutherland and Phillips often looking uneasy when it comes to the humour.

What this all boils down to is that "Renegades" is really just your unlikely buddy movie and adds nothing new or different to make it feel more original. The truth is that "Renegades" is a movie which you will watch if you are fans of Kiefer Sutherland and Lou Diamond Phillips but not for any other reason.


LATEST REVIEWS