Cloak and Dagger

Cloak and Dagger

Kill them, Davey... KILL THEM ALL!!



Brad: DABNEY! Only in the 80s would Dabney Coleman be an action star. AND playing two separate roles to boot. I always and still do love the beginning of Jack Flack’s spy mission. I thought it was cool as a kid being at that time never seeing a Bond film in my young film watching career. For some reason, even as a kid I assumed Flack was a British spy mainly because he looked British [maybe it was the David Niven moustache] I grew up with a lot of Anglo-centric exposure and maybe it was that coupled with at least knowing about James Bond I assumed all the best spies are Brits.

What I don’t understand now as an adult is why does his kid, Davey, who is practically estranged to his father, fantasize his dad as Flack? If I had a bad relationship with my ‘ol man [AND I DO!] he’d be the last person I would assume the role as super-spy or anything remotely super. Other than Super-deadbeat or Super-Drunk.

Brian: What maniac looked at Dabney Coleman in the mid-80s and said, “Now THERE’S an action hero!”  I guess he turned some heads with his insane stuntwork on “9 to 5.”

As for his mustache, it makes him seem nonthreatening to his enemies.  They let their guard down, feeling that there’s no way this fancy boy is going to cause any trouble.  And that’s precisely when the cobra strikes…

I guess because his dad never pays attention to him, and he is desperate to spend time with his dad so he invents this hero friend in the image of his father.  Kind of like how Jesus invented Hercules.

What’s most disturbing is how the kid is clearly suffering from a severe case of paranoid schizophrenia.  Why isn’t he on medication?  What 11-year-old still has an imaginary friend anyway?

Oh Davey, your mother was so beautiful... before you killed her.

Brad: I think it was Coleman in WarGames that really put him on the top of peoples’ lists.

You know how in, say a Bond movie, it goes to a couple of locales maybe an exotic Caribbean island to a Swiss Alp ski resort than maybe to some remote African desert? Davey goes from a suburb of San Antonio to SAN ANTONIO!! I guess when the plot revolves around kids who only have a bus pass they can’t be going to Montenegro. But wasn’t the father a pilot? They couldn’t work that in other than the ending? Maybe that’s just nit-picking.

Exotic locales!

It’s such a Hollywood mentality to always strike while the iron’s hot with any new fad. Cloak & Dagger is a perfect example this in the mid-80s films revolving around video games. Tron being one and The Last Starfighter being another example. What sets C&D apart from them is that it was the home version of a video game and not a bulky arcade game. And the video game cartridge is the MacGuffin for C&D with the spy secrets hidden in the game. I cannot recall in the last few years a movie using a similiar plot of secrets being implanted on some hapless kid’s Playstation disc and bad guys are trying to get it back. And you would think it would be more feasible with a Playstation or XBOX CD since we, as consumers, can burn discs at home or copy discs at home. Back then with the Atari 2600 the technology was so lost on most common folk.

Brian: The father was actually an air traffic controller, and only posed as a pilot at the end to trick the old couple who were hijacking the plane.

Actually, according to Wikipedia: The game was under development using the title Agent X when the movie producers and Atari learned of each others’ projects and decided to cooperate.  But the Atari console version of the game was never actually released, due to the video game crash of 1983.  There was a limited release arcade version of the game, and that’s what appears on the screen in the movie.  But the Atari game Davey was playing never actually existed… just like Jack Flack!  So the game itself could have been just another one of Davey’s schizophrenic delusions.  So that means that Davey was just running around San Antonio, raising all kinds of hell, and the “bad guys” who were after him were just honest cops trying to bring this crazy kid under control.  And then he kills them.  I don’t imagine that part of it was a positive influence on his psyche.  And then at the end, he imagines two elderly people (most likely schizophrenic projections of his late grandparents, whom he loved very much but died in a tragic plane crash) hijack a plane.  So he brings a bomb onto an empty plane, still playing out his paranoid fantasy, and the cops send in his father to try to talk him out of it.  Davey’s father manages to save him, but the plane explodes anyway.

No doubt Davey spent the rest of his life locked up in an institution, due to murder of law enforcement officers and terrorism, banging his head against a padded wall and having conversations all day long with a super spy who isn’t there…

Brad: Last time I watched it I turned it off after Davey shot Michael Murphy. I totally forgot about the old couple who, wait. Did you say they hijacked the plane? The old couple? That’s just stupid. How can you not thwart an elderly couple’s diabolical plan to hijack a plane? That’s just embarrassing.

Maybe like you said everything is all a delusion in the sad mind of Davey and he really hated or feared his grandparents or maybe he had a fear of the elderly. The whole film is like a kids spy version of Grimm’s fairy tales.

Brian: It’s best to turn it off after Davey screams at Jack Flak, “I DON’T WANT TO PLAY ANYMORE!!!” then bullet holes appear in Jack and he dies.  It’s Bergmanesque.

If you think about the movie that way it’s a really interesting psychological portrait of a young boy in the throes of madness, and not just a movie about a video game.  It should be in black & white with a score performed by a musical saw and an out-of-tune oboe.

Let's play, Davey...

Brad: When Jack Flack’s parachute rolls back into his jacket I always assumed as a kid that he might be a robot.

Now for some nitpicking:

  • Why are these 11-year-olds hanging out with this video game shop geek played by William Forsythe? How many kids did you know hang out with guys they weren’t related to at their place of work?
  • Titles on screen “San Antonio, Texas, Summer” why do they bother with the extraneous fact that it’s summer? As far as I recall it has nothing to do with the plot. Plus in southern Texas seasons are more or less moot right? It always bothers me when subtitles tell the audience what time it is when it really doesn’t matter.
  • I seem to remember having a slight crush with Kim. She was kinda cute. Plus she was sassy for a 11-year-old.

Brian: Kimmy’s lisp was too annoying to me to find her cute.

No way, Kim is the highlight of this film. She’s highly entertaining and funny. She didn’t age too terribly.

She survived despite her mother's lack of interest in her.

  • When I was 11, my mom wouldn’t even let me ride my bike on any busy road. But the kids take the bus downtown whenever they want. I don’t know how plausible this is. Could just be sour grapes on my part.
  • I love how silencers are still heard from a far distance away. I now laugh at how casual the shot techie guy opens the door and then stumbles down the stairs to Davey.
  • Nazi’s?!?? So Davey is mature enough to take the bus downtown but doesn’t know the differences between Nazis and Russians? Oooookay. This is where our theory of Davey’s psychotic delusions takes start to take hold.
  • Awesome wallpaper Davey. Did you notice the wallpaper? It’s a whole NASA/space theme. It would’ve been cool if it wasn’t so much an eye-sore. The same spaceships designs are literally every foot apart.
  • So Jack Flack is his imaginary friend but he’s also the character in the video game, Cloak & Dagger and the role playing game? Davey isn’t even creative enough to make up his OWN imaginary friend? That would be like me or you having Super Mario or Mega-Man as our imaginary friends.
  • Ya know…We mocked him last week but I always liked Dabney Coleman. He always seems like a good decent fella. Even when he was the asshole boss in 9 to 5 he was basically harmless.
  • So Davey already sees a therapist? Well there ya go, our theory holds more water.
  • Why is Davey wearing the same outfit from the day before? Why is porn mustache assassin wearing a sweatsuit? How insanely thick is William Forsythe’s glasses?
  • “Freeze Turkey!” Where in the hell did Davey get such moxie? His friend is hanging off a cliff and this guy is telling him that he will kill her and Davey is cocky as hell. Both kids are surprisingly calm to be in this sort of situation if you ask me.
  • So the secret in the video game is the SR-71 stealth bomber? According to wikipedia it was already invented by the time this movie came out.
  • So how exactly did the old couple plan that Davey would take the tour boat ride to poorly evade the gay looking assassins?
  • I don’t think a fire on a boat in water 1 foot deep should cause such a panic that people would rush to one end of the boat.
  • Man, Davey’s cock-sure confidence is really bugging me. Even when he’s lying in a trunk of a car next the fresh corpse of his friend, he is way too calm.
  • Again! How in the hell did that old couple know Davey would be smart and cunning enough to follow Michael Murphy inside the Alamo?
  • “You got a lot of nerve stealing inside the Alamo!” Is stealing in the Alamo really any worse than stealing anywhere else?
  • Why would Michael Murphy care about his goon shooting at his car when Davey practically totaled it driving it out of the parking garage?
  • I’m now just over an hour in to the movie and I’m already losing interest. I’m shocked and baffled at how I could sit through the whole movie was a kid and with many repeat viewings. And this isn’t a terrible movie it’s just not really interesting especially was an espionage thriller.
  • Why did they repeat the same outdoor/river/park set as before? It isn’t a vital location to the plot so it looks very cheap and/or lazy to return to the same location.
  • “How many people have I killed for you over the years?” first of all WHAT? WHO? And Davey is 11, how young has he been playing spy games with his imaginary friend, Jack? Unless Davey plays and imagines himself as an older spy, Jack Flack’s line is peculiar.
  • It’s very hard to be an intimidating killer when one is wearing a Members Only jacket. Even in 1984.
  • “The guy’s a jerk. Kill him.” Good a reason as any.
  • How and why did Michael Murphy see and shoot at Jack Flack? He may seem real to Davey but he’s obviously imaginary.

Having a video game in someone’s possession hardly proves that an old couple could be parents to an eleven year old.

Why would the bomb pause for a second when the wrong wire is unplugged from it? I can understand if the bomb timer sped up or slowed down but pause just for dramatic effect is dumb. And so what exactly did that wire do anyway if unplugging it did nothing? And when the old man unplugs another wire the same thing happens…a slight pause and then continuing countdown. So the wires in the explosive do absolutely nothing?

Dabney Coleman sure looks smug for surviving an explosion, killing two elderly people and destroying a jumbo jet.

“I don’t need him anymore. I got you dad!” Nothing like almost getting killed to realize you love your pop.

The musical score is pretty decent actually.

Brian: When I’ve watched it recently it was only from the part where Kimmy and Davey discover the bullet hole in the pedophile nerd’s computer.  So I don’t remember much before that.

Yeah, Davey and Kimmy have the most unconcerned parents ever.  Kimmy’s taking the bus all over town at all hours of the day and then leaves a note for her mom to call the police, yet the mom still doesn’t care.

Why would the tech guy give the cartridge to a friggin’ kid instead of trying to smash it?  Did the government leave the only copy of the stealth bomber plans in an office in San Antonio?  And if they’re worried about it getting stolen, wouldn’t they lock it up in some impenetrable way with armed guards watching it instead of hiding it in an Atari game?

I had Star Wars wallpaper like that when I was a kid.  It was basically a small cluster of images repeated over and over, so there were 500 Yoda heads in my room.  And the Yoda head was really close to a Tie Fighter shooting lasers, so it looked like it was shooting Yoda’s ears off.

I thought Davey was a little too unsurprised to see his dead friend in the trunk.  He’s basically like, “Oh, Maurice is dead.  Bummer.”  You know why he’s so calm?  Because HE KILLED HIM.

"Huh, what do you know..."

Why does Davey make such a big scene out of stealing the camera case?  Why didn’t he just walk over, casually pick it up and calmly walk out?  It’s the only non-calm thing he does the whole time.

One plot hole is that Jack Flak is supposed to be from Cloak & Dagger, but he’s been Davey’s friend a long time, and Cloak & Dagger was a new game.  So what was Jack Flak before?  Plus, when he’s dying Jack says that Davey’s dad did the same thing in deciding not to play anymore, and that he hates when all the kids do that, so I guess he’s just like an imaginary friend rental who goes from kid to kid?

I love that Michael Murphy thinks he needs a gun that looks like its from Predator to kill a kid.

I LOVE when the airport guy says, “What’s going on here?!” and the old man shoots him in the leg.

Yeah, how would that bomb go off with no wires going into it to trigger it?  The old man takes one wire out then gives up?

The ending where Davey’s dad is walking away from the explosion looks so awful, especially since the fire behind them is in slow motion for some reason.

Davey kills everyone. *end spoilers*

When I was a kid I just thought this was a cool movie where this kid gets to shoot guns and there was a video game involved.  Now as an adult, it’s just a fascinating look into the mind of a young psychopath.

Kid score: 8
Adult score: 6

7 thoughts on “Cloak and Dagger

  1. Pingback: Gross!: 1984 | Hard Ticket to Home Video

  2. Pingback: Schlocktoberfest X – Day 5: Psycho II | Hard Ticket to Home Video

Got something to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s