Tough Assignment

January 17, 2012 at 2:36 am (5 Heads, Tough Assignment) (, , , , )

Tough Assignment – 1949 – United States

The prolific William Beaudine directed over 350 flicks from 1915 to 1979, including the schlock classic Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (1952). Robert L. Lippert produced some memorable sci-fi—The Quartermass Xperiment (1955), The Fly (1958), The Last Man on Earth (1964), and Earth Dies Screaming (1964). When savvy pros like Beaudine and Lippert team up, the result is sure to be crowd-pleasingly straightforward. Tough Assignment fits that bill precisely.

A smarmy reporter and his sweet photographer wife work together to crack an illegal beef ring. Posing as crooked ranch hands, they infiltrate the “bootleg beef mob”. Tough Assignment features typical crime tropes like thuggish hoods and mellifluous racketeers. However, several clownish characters inject humorous buffoonery. The husband and wife protagonists are also endearingly cute. Maybe too cute.

Tough Assignment’s acting and pacing work smoothly and the concept of “modern” cattle rustling is novel. Unfortunately, the flick is merely unremarkably competent. It’s enjoyable, but too simple to leave an impression.

Rating: 5/10 Shrunken Heads. The toughest assignment is reviewing this unexceptional junk.

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