Adapted from an Elmore Leonard (Get Shorty, Out of Sight) novel, "52 Pick-Up" is a dark film noir that works in more respects than it doesn't. There are so many twists and turns in the film that eventually you might feel a little worn out by them. Director John Frankenheimer (French Connection II, Birdman of Alcatraz) keeps us guessing and the pace up at a high level. The pace in a film noir is important as it keeps the tension high which is essential for this genre. Like much of Leonard's work there is plenty of sex and violence to keep fans of those things happy. Though the film was made in the 1980s it has more the gritty feel of a film from the 70s.
What has often been mentioned as a problem with this film is the fact that it is unrealistic that a man would step out on a wife who looks like Ann-Margaret. For all you porn fans keep your eyes peeled for appearances by Amber Lynn and Ron Jeremy in the film. Check out the sleazier side of life with this film.
Harry Mitchell (Roy Scheider – Blue Thunder, Romeo is Bleeding) is a businessman that gets into a tight spot when he is videotaped with his young mistress, Cini (Kelly Preston – Jerry Maguire, Waiting to Exhale). Cini just happens to be a stripper who is working for three sleazy pornographers. Harry and Kelly are caught on tape in all their glory and he is blackmailed by the three men, Alan (John Glover – Payback, In the Mouth of Madness), Bobby (Clarence Williams III – Reindeer Games, Purple Rain) and Leo (Robert Trebor – Universal Soldier, Talk Radio), wanting money from him in exchange for the tape. Not one to take things lying down, Harry decides to fight back. He spills the beans to his wife (Ann-Margaret – The Break-Up, Any Given Sunday), who is running for political office, and decides not to go to the police for help. Harry decides to play one sleazeball against the next and this is helped along by the fact that they do not trust each other further than they can throw one another.