Awesome ’80s in April: The Presidio (1988)

the presidio poster

It is funny what you remember from your childhood. Until this week I’d never seen The Presidio, but I remember that my cousin Clifton has. I remember him telling me how awesome it was and that James Bond beat a guy up using just his thumb. That was enough to make me want to watch it, but I wasn’t even a teenager in 1988 and my mother was much more strict about what she let us watch than Aunt Sandi was for Clifton. When I was old enough to watch it I had already moved on to other movies. But I still remember wondering how a guy could beat another guy up with just a thumb.

That guy is Colonel Alan Caldwell (Sean Connery) the provost marshall of the Presidio Army Base in San Francisco, California. He’s a hard-nosed guy who doesn’t take too kindly when Jay Austin (Mark Harmon), a police detective shows up at his door trying to solve two murders. One murder was committed on the base, but another, seemingly by the same criminal, was committed in the city. That means it is SFPD jurisdiction.

Turns out Austin used to be an Army man, stationed at the Presidio, under the command of Caldwell. They didn’t get along too well, but are forced to team up to solve these murders. This sets up our buddy cop film with one tough, old, by-the-books officer and a younger do whatever-it-takes to get the job done detective.

It is all pretty standard 1980s cop flick fare. Connery is great and the mystery is pretty good. The action is mostly average although I did enjoy one scene inside a warehouse full of giant water bottles that get shot up pretty good. Meg Ryan plays the love interest who is also Caldwell’s daughter. She’s basically a Meg Ryan type but not given much to do.

All in all a pretty good way to spend a Saturday afternoon at the movies.

Oh and that scene where Connery takes down a dude with his thumb? That’s worth the price of admission all on its own.

I almost forgot to mention, there is a scene in which Mark Harmon’s character meets a woman with a bunch of Grateful Dead posters on her office wall. He needs something from her so they have a hilarious chat about the Dead and which shows they’ve seen. It ends with him promising to send her a Dylan bootleg.

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