The Cohen Case Files: Women of San Quentin (1983)

Story by Larry Cohen The misleadingly titled Women of San Quentin is about as inconsequential of a film as you are likely to find connected to Larry Cohen. While it sports a cast that is stacked with experienced character actors, it never rises above its TV-movie status to become an interesting—or entertaining—movie. All it aspires […]

The Cohen Case Files: As Good as Dead (1995)

Written, Produced, and Directed by Larry Cohen Even if you went into As Good as Dead without the knowledge that it made its premiere as a made-for-USA-network film, even casual viewers unaware of Cohen’s career could quickly figure out that fact. From the generic thriller title to the mostly anemic casting (save a little edginess […]

The Cohen Case Files: El Condor (1970)

Co-Written by Larry Cohen I’m not sure what kind of film director John Guillermin was trying to make with El Condor, but it certainly wasn’t the film scripted by Larry Cohen and Steven W. Carabatsos. From Lee Van Cleef’s mugging performance to the light adventure score by Maurice Jarre, Guillermin seems to be trying to […]

The Cohen Case Files: Desperado: Avalanche at Devil’s Ridge (1988)

Written by Larry Cohen After watching Desperado: Avalanche at Devil’s Ridge, I had trouble deciding if I should bother writing a plot synopsis or if I would be better off just cataloging the dozen or so slow-motion sequences that make up much of the film’s running time. Since the story is actually a little better-than-average […]

The Cohen Case Files: The Expert (1995)

Story by Larry Cohen (uncredited) I was not sure if I should include the Jeff Speakman vehicle The Expert as part of the Cohen Case Files. Cohen is not even credited on the finished film. Instead, the credits list a screenplay by veteran crime and mystery novelist Max Allan Collins. A “story by” credit is […]

The Cohen Case Files: See China and Die (1981)

Written, produced, and directed by Larry Cohen Like a lot of Larry Cohen’s films, it’s tempting to simply look at See China and Die as a time capsule of the era it was produced. While the themes of his best films are timeless, many of Cohen’s productions are also rooted in the mundane everyday routines […]

The Cohen Case Files: Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence (1993)

Co-produced and written by Larry Cohen This review will contain spoilers for the first two films in the Maniac Cop series. What a letdown. The first Maniac Cop was hardly a great film, but it boasted an intriguing premise and a solid performance by genre favorite Tom Atkins. The series hit its high-water mark with […]

The Cohen Case Files: Phone Booth (2002)

Written by Larry Cohen Joel Schumacher just couldn’t get out of the way. Given a fairly interesting story and mostly tight screenplay, Phone Booth could have been a tense, sweaty little thriller. Instead, with Schumacher at the helm, the film feels at times like an homage to the more ADD-afflicted films of Tony Scott and […]

The Cohen Case Files: Original Gangstas (1996)

Directed by Larry Cohen Some ideas are better in the abstract than in actual execution. The Expendables films, for example, sound like they should be cheesy fun, but filtered through the egos of roughly a dozen aging—outright elderly, in some cases—action stars, the idea goes from fun to boring faster than Jet Li’s exit from […]

The Cohen Case Files: Uncle Sam (1996)

Written by Larry Cohen It’s a pretty familiar refrain from me, but I wish Larry Cohen had directed Uncle Sam instead of simply writing it. There is a very subversive film to be made from his script that undercuts the faux-patriotism of blindly following your country’s government, no matter how morally questionable its actions. Cohen’s […]