Mike Hammer created by Mickey Spillane is one of the best and hardest private detectives in literature. He has been portrayed many times on screen and TV, probably most famously by Stacy Keach. However in 1981 Larry Cohen (It’s Alive and God Told Me To) brought him bang up to date in an adaption of one of Spillane’s most famous Hammer stories. Cohen was originally attached to direct but was replaced by Richard T. Heffron, but that’s another story.
When one of Mike’s army buddies is murdered in his apartment, he begins his own investigation which leads to all kinds of dodgy shenanigans including a dubious sex clinic ran by a Dr. Bennett (Barbara Carrera). Cohen’s script is loyal to the Hammer legend which includes his loyal secretary Velda and best friend the cop Pat Chambers (Paul Sorvino). Hammer is portrayed by Armand Assante as a laid back at times but lethal lady killer and his office is right in the middle of the New York of the early 1980’s with it’s various strip club establishments nearby.
It’s got a fair bit of action, a really cool score from Bill Conti, a few laughs and an almost obscene of gratuitous nudity (hooray!!) especially from the hottest ever Bond Girl Barbara Carrera. I saw it at least 20 odd years ago on video and its never been available until recently on DVD, so thanks to the nice people at Fox and their Cinema Archives label.
A little bit of a minor classic this one especially if sleazy and enjoyable crime thrillers are your bag.
- Starring Armand Assante Paul Sorvino Geoffrey Lewis Laurene Landon Barbara Carrera
- Director Richard T. Heffron
- Distributor Fox