Shoot to Kill (1988) All Action FBI Agent Sidney Poitier Goes Wild In The Woods

Shoot To Kill (1988) Sidney Poitier Tom Berenger movie poster dvd cover

He stood talking in the mirror whilst pushing a few wrinkles on his head “They’re not bad at all? Shiiiiiit I’m a 60 year old man. I still got it“. Pondering back over the last ten years out of the game. Deep down he’d missed it. Forsure we all missed him. “It’s all action guys now. Beefcake whippersnappers! That Rambo guy, Sly Stallone and that Austrian giant! Arnie something. He took on an alien in the jungle ffs!. Shiiiiit man things have surely changed since I’ve been gone?

You know what though? I’m back. The book is finished and I’m ready to show that this old man is as tough as the rest of them. YEAH They’ll see. I can go all First Blood, Commando on their arse.” “YEP I’ll show them” He takes a step back. Full frame in the mirror. A little jog on the spot. He psyches himself up. Now shadow boxing and staring himself out. “That’s it SP you can do! Come on! Who are you? Shout it out“. More punches to the air, he smiles and starts to chant. “SIDNEY POITIER SIDNEY POITIER SIDNEY POITIER” “I’m back baby!“. The world sighed a breath of relief, all was well in the universe once again.

Shoot To Kill (1988) Sidney Poitier and director Roger Spottiswoode on set

Sidney Poitier and director Roger Spottiswoode on set

Sidney Poitier had decided to take some time off to write his autobiography. He’d had the most wonderful career. “When I stepped away to write the book I couldn’t imagine myself wanting more. I had had infinitely more than my share“. Then a script lands in his hands with the part written especially for him. It was a role he hadn’t really played before. A big budget action role. Sidney was going to be giving Rambo and the like a run for their money.

Shoot To Kill (1988) Sidney Poitier fbi agent squad car cop radio

That’s right, an all action movie from a 60 year old Sidney Poitier strutting his FBI agent stuff on the screen. He races down dark alleys, jumps over car bonnets, dangles over cliff edges, fires off his pistol like Dirty Harry and even finds time to freak out a grizzly! Sidney plays hard boiled FBI agent Warren Stantin. He’d been dishing out justice to hundreds of lowlives, murders and criminals throughout the city all his career. Just when he thinks it can’t get any worse, a kidnapping case involving thousands of dollars of diamonds begins. He follows the book then tries to improvise. This cunning criminal knows all the moves. He’s deadly, unpredictable, ruthless and extremely dangerous. What’s more they can’t figure any trace on him. He completely anonymous and on the run.

Shoot To Kill (1988) Sidney Poitier fbi agent bad ass gun

Desperate to get his man, Warren Stantin is straight on the scene when a call comes from the state lines near the Canadian border. The MO fits the criminal’s characteristics. He seems to have infiltrated a fishing party lead by Sarah Rennell (Kirstie Alley). The group is trekking deep into the wilderness.  A wilderness ready to kill anyone dumb enough to wandering in without the survival skills and knowledge.

Tagline – A ruthless killer. A beautiful hostage. Two men follow them into the mountains. One for love. One for revenge.

Shoot To Kill (1988) Sidney Poitier action film with Kirstie AlleyShoot To Kill (1988) Sidney Poitier Tom Berenger tracker looking all moody

Warren needs a tracker. Step forward Jonathan Knox (Tom Berenger). Unfortunately this tracker is the boyfriend of Sarah and desperate to make up time. The last thing he needs is some old city dwelling lacky to hold him up, let alone die out there. For however much he’s tries there’s no way he can shake off the determined FBI agent. So off they go to track down this murdering bastard through whatever dangerous terrain is thrown at them.  Cue some comic moments before it gets back on the hardcore tracking down again.

Tagline – Into a place no one has ever been, two men will track a killer no one has ever seen.

Shoot To Kill (1988) Sidney Poitier Tom Berenger buddy movie action packed thriller

The beginning is truly frantic as the suspense is ramped up to ten right from the get go. Then the pace and tone takes a shift into some much needed comic light relief as the twosome battle it together. Tom Berenger is all fired up with his Rambo style bandana wrapped around his head. He stays focused and tough in his domain of the wilderness. Whereas Sidney gets to lighten his action packed beginning as he fights to stay tough in the alien, to him, terrain. Getting to drop a few comical “Oooh, shit!” along the way. He does look like he had fun and the incident with an grizzly is bond to make you smile. Then when he’s back in his element of the city, it’s all Mister Tibbs channelling Harry Callahan whilst doing dives and jumps over cars and blasting his revolver.

Shoot To Kill (1988) Sidney Poitier fbi agent jumping over cop car

Jonathan Knox – “I’ve never seen a grizzly just turn and run like that.”
Warren Stantin – “Everybody else up here acts like they’ve never seen a black man before. Why should the bear be different?”

What’s brilliant about this film is the way it shows it’s killer. Well it doesn’t for half the film. I won’t mention his name but unfortunately just seeing it in the beginning credits you will obviously know who it is. A neat thing the writers and director Roger Spottiswoode do is cast a few well known actors known for playing bad guys. Everyone on the fishing trip look intently dodgy as they trek through the forest. I can well imagine a lot of people would of been fooled. Even knowing the killer before the big reveal its still a pretty shocking scene and packs quite a punch.

Shoot To Kill (1988) Sidney Poitier grizzly bear roar attack wilderness

Yep I know! How could I have missed this one until now? It’s got Sidney Poitier in it? I knew of it and even thought I’d probably seen it. Now I’m just so happy to have stumbled across it and have the pleasure to tick off yet another Sidney off his wonderful filmography list.

Well worth tracking down if you fancy seeing a pretty tight 80s buddy action thriller. Though I would assume many have already seen it? Let me know if you wish.

Keep it filmy…. Mikey Wolf

Shoot To Kill (1988) Sidney Poitier fbi agent deadly pursuit name change outsire of America

Known in the UK as Deadly Pursuit. I read it was changed because of the horrible mass shooting which had recently happen.

18 thoughts on “Shoot to Kill (1988) All Action FBI Agent Sidney Poitier Goes Wild In The Woods

  1. I remember when this came out, thinking how strange it was that Sidney Poitier was not only in a film, but in this kind of action film. And for whatever reason, I didn’t see it in the theaters then, and still haven’t seen it! And it makes no sense, because it’s an ’80s action film, and normally I’m all over those. And do you think my library has it? Well OF COURSE NOT! But it sounds like a good one, and I’d always though it had Poitier going up against Berenger…nice to know they’re on the same side. And I’ll try to avoid noticing that actor’s name, so maybe I’ll be surprised when the bad guy is revealed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know right Todd! Me too. How did we not see this. 80’s (tick), action (tick) VHS rental age (tick) Sidney bloomin Poitier (tick). It’s got all the formula for a great film and somehow it got missed off our viewing radars!
      It’s a whole heap of fun and has some neat moments. TBH I had thought the same that Sid be chasing a naughty Tom. Tom does have that ability to flip from good to bad doesn’t he. Though I haven’t seen many of Tom’s films. I might revisit “Sniper” remember that being pretty good.
      Hope you get to see Shoot To Kill soon, I’m positive you will really enjoy it. Yeah when you see Sids and Toms name go up on the opening credits close your eyes and count 10 hail Marys and you should be good to go brov.


  2. I missed this one too, Mikey. I always avoided it because I was put out with all the action movies of the era. I’m very particular about my action films…I probably like only 5 hard core action films. Lethal Weapon franchise? You’d have to strap me to a chair and peel back my eye lids like in Clockwork Orange. But I do admire Poitier so I may give it a watch now.
    Keep it filmy. Ha! That’s brilliantly funny, Mikey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s fun Pam but don’t go out your way unless you see it on cable to DVR. The beginning is really frantic and gets straight to the chase. Then it flips to a pre Cliffhanger style thriller. Sidney has some real comic moments especially against stern faced Tom. None more so than the bear and my favourite bit when he gets into a pickle on a cliff face. It’s a cute moment when he lifts his arms up hoping to be pulled up. Then it flips back into action. Yeah it has a few plot holes etc but really you’re just happy to let that slide.
      PS be interesting to see you do a post of your 5 hardcore action films 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve always been a fan of this one. Fun action film mixed with the fish out of water theme that can always work well. Great cast to surround Sidney oi his return to the movies. Great choice to feature and a great intro. Years ago when I was just starting out and was a bit timid in what to say I featured this one in the 4th month of Mike’s Take existence. So again we match up well in our selections and tastes. I remember assuming it had to be Andrew “Scorpio” Robinson when I first saw it. lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t that beginning half so frantic and gets straight to the chase. It was pretty relentless. Was funny to see Sidney having a few comic relief moments especially against the stern faced Tom. None more so than the bear and my favourite bit when he gets into a pickle on a cliff. It’s a cute moment when he lifts his arms up hoping to be pulled up. Yeah it has a few plot holes etc but really you’re just happy to let that slide. To watch it at the time it must of been so difficult to see who was gonna be the baddy. How brilliant to cast all those bad guys. Off to read your “take”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We saw this at home, not in the theater, on a lark, not expecting much, and had a great time.
    It was a lot of fun. Like going into a thrift shop with low expectations and discovering some gem hidden inside and coming away with a surprised happiness.
    Funny in the ’80s that Pontier’s character keeps bitching about his age. Maybe he was further along than his early ’60s, like he was in his mid-’60s or something. But still, today, Keanu Reeves, Tom Cruise, even Halle Berry and Sandra Bullock, all in their ’50s, have done some pretty vigorous roles as older people and age never comes up. I guess that’s because 50 is the new 40 and all that, etc., lol ??
    Entertaining review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh I like that “coming away with a surprised happiness.” That feeling is what makes the little dig so good. To find said little gems that make you smile so brightly.
      I got just over two years to go then I’m sure I’m gonna be bitching, well definitely whining and howling at the Moon about hitting the 50s. So fingers crossed for the new 40s and to becoming a spring chicken! Thanks for the great comment.
      All the best……… Mikey

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review! Frankly, I didn’t care for the movie. However, your in-depth review makes want to re-watch it. It’s entirely possible that I’m confusing this movie with Little Nikita! 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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