To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), directed by William Friedkin.

An adrenaline-junkie Secret Service agent must get the master counterfeiter who murdered his partner. The effort takes him deep into the Dark Side.

This attempt at a better quality police action picture has a bunch of "on the one hand, on the other" aspects.

It has exciting scenes, particularly in a car chase and gun battle through crowded streets, freeways and along the concrete LA River, but we are not attached to anyone in the story.

It is is skillfully photographed, but the clothes, sunglasses and rock music score are too suggestive of early MTV and Miami Vice.

William Petersen is posed like a tough cop fashion model; bad guy Willem Dafoe and his girl are improbably elegant.

Although: good and bad guys are much confused here. All the Secret Service agents are just terrible at their jobs. Dafoe is businesslike in a tough business.

The dialogue explains the plot, which is bad writing both in books and films.

A tip for retiring agents: don't tell anyone you have just a few days left. It's bad luck. Just take off without notice.

Nudity, passion and some gruesome shooting violence.

Available on Blu-ray.