Retro Film Review- The Inside Man (1984)

The Inside Man‘ is a Cold War thriller directed by Tom Clegg, who also co-wrote the story with William Aldridge. It is a Swedish film that took inspiration from a real incident where a Soviet submarine was spotted in neutral Sweden’s waters.

Mandell (Hardy Krüger) is a Swedish businessman working with CIA Agent Miller (Dennis Hopper) to steal a laser from his own company, which is in financial ruin and will be compensated by the American government. Swedish intelligence officer Stig Larsson (Gosta Ekman) suspects Mandell when he sees him interacting with Miller. They recruit a former Marine and boxing champion Thomas Kallin (Cory Molder) to be the “inside man” as Mandell’s driver. Thomas is stunned to find a conspiracy that neither Miller nor Larsson could have foreseen, thrusting into a dangerous situation that involves a Soviet arms dealer.

I need to get this out of the way, the music is pretty cheesy. I get it. It was the 80s, but this is supposed to be about spy intrigue. I have seen other films from that era that pulled off a good soundtrack. The music sounded more like it belonged in a workout video than an espionage thriller. That goes double for the song that started playing at the credits.

The movie references a real incident that happened during the Cold War, but is more specifically based on the novel The Fighter: Thriller by the late Swedish author Harry Kullman. The film was originally titled Slagskämpen for its release in Europe.

Besides that, I thought the movie was decent. It had a good story that was not hard to follow and I liked watching the rivalry between the CIA and Swedish intelligence. There were some good conversations that showed this off in dialogue. Larsson and Miller had some good conversations in this context and they were the best part of the movie. I will say, the plot was a bit simplistic, but not predictable. I was definitely engaged with what was going on.

The cast is competent. Outside of Dennis Hopper, no one really gave a standout performance, but they did their job well. Hopper was the best of the bunch and I think they realized this because his image is all over DVD releases despite his role being secondary.

Bottom line, The Inside Man has a terrible soundtrack, but the movie still has a solid plot and definitely a good performance by the late, great Dennis Hopper.

PARENTAL CONCERNS: Violence, Sexual content, Strong foul language

FAVORITE QUOTE: We don’t like amateurs.

Check out the trailer below:

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my reviews of D.O.A. and Heat. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.

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