Johnny Handsome (1989) – Revenge Has A New Face

Johnny Handsome (1989) Mickey Rourke poster

Mickey Rourke plays criminal minded JohnJohnny HandsomeSedley and manages to channel the spirit of Eric Stoltz portrayal of Rocky Dennis until he meets Dr Fisher (Forest Whitaker) for some experimental cosmetic surgery giving Johnny the chance to change his face. Turning him into Bruce Willis with hair whilst sprouting the vocal style of Marlon Brando.

Tagline – Revenge has a new face

Johnny Handsome (1989) Mickey RourkeJohnny Handsome (1989) Forest Whitaker

Now that our Johnny is handsome and unrecognisable from his former self he can go to work seeking revenge on the dastardly duo that got him locked up for a jewellery robbery they had sabotaged, resulting in the murder of his trusted friend Mikey played by Scott Wilson AKA Hershel from The Walking Dead.

Johnny Handsome (1989) morgan freeman

In his way, is none other than Morgan Freeman playing Lieutenant Drones, a cop all too familiar with the nature of Johnny’s inner workings and knows a leopard can’t change his spots. But maybe the kind hearted secretary Donna McCarty (Elizabeth McGovern) can help put our anti-hero back on the straight line?

Johnny Handsome (1989) Robbery

Tagline – They changed his looks, his life and his future… but they couldn’t change his past.

To be honest this film slides very close to a B-movie what with the reconstruction surgery computer graphics and a speech therapy Nun! Then throw in the most ridiculously over the top psycho baddies from the likes of Southern lowdown hoe (Ellen Barkin) “Mad” Sunny Boyd and the totally deranged camp looking cyber punk Rafe Garrett played by Lance Henriksen otherwise known as Bishop from Aliens.

Johnny Handsome (1989) Ellen Barkin Lance HenriksenJohnny Handsome (1989) Ellen Barkin Lance Henriksen Mickey Rourke

Rourke, Morgan and Forest put in some good performances and the film plods along at a good pace. With my task of filling in Director Walter Hill’s movies I’ve missed, it’s another one ticked off the list but if i’m honest I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped, it was pretty average.

Fun Fact – Based on a 1972 novel by Morton Freedgood under the pen name of John Godey called The Three Worlds of Johnny Handsome. A year after he wrote the book The Taking of Pelham One Two Three which went on to being made into the awesome New York subway thriller starring Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw.

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3 thoughts on “Johnny Handsome (1989) – Revenge Has A New Face

    1. Oh wow The Long Riders is so excellent isn’t it. I first watched it not long after I had seen the Warriors but I tell the truth I didn’t know it was by the same director until a few years ago. It’s a wonderful western and how brilliant to have so many brothers together. Like it would of been, like the Hatfields & McCoys.
      Just had a little glance at the extras, I bet that 60 minute making of doc is going to be superb. Nice one 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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