Like Kino Lorber's recent release of 1974's The Midnight Man, 1993's The Real McCoy is another Universal production filmed in the South about an ex-con who finds it isn't easy to change their stripes (so to speak). Of course, comparing The Midnight Man to The Real McCoy is like juxtaposing Highlander with Highlander 2: The Quickening. The subtle film reference joke there being that the latter three titles were all manufactured by a filmmaker one either loves or hates (or both, if they're a Highlander fan): one-time pop music video director Russell Mulcahy.
Here, former Vicki Vale Kim Basinger stars as renowned thief Karen McCoy, who ‒ as the story opens ‒ is captured and incarcerated in an after hours bank robbery gone awry. Released several years later, McCoy returns to the life she left behind to find her bastard redheaded son (Zack English) has been raised by his father and stepmother to believe his birth mum is dead. Were that not breaking (heh) enough, McCoy is hounded by a deviously apathetic Terence Stamp ‒ the local criminal kingpin who is bound and determined to put Karen's skills back to work ‒ and a dutifully pathetic wannabe (future Bruce Wayne Val Kilmer) who is determined to be bound with her.
Fortunately, everybody gets their chance to exploit our heroine (since she's a woman in a '90s film and all): Stamp orders Kim's corrupt parole officer (the great Gailard Sartain; surprisingly vicious for such a lighthearted film) to kidnap the bastard redheaded kid so that they may blackmail her into finishing the job she didn't get a chance to complete a few years prior (emphasis on "prior" in this instance), treating us to a variety of colorful, music video-esque montages as only Russell Mulcahy could pull off. Of course, what the bad guys fail to realize altogether is that The Real McCoy may still have a few tricks up her sleeve (since she's a woman in a '90s film and all).
Full of sound, fury, and signifying nothing, Mulcahy's tale has been told before. In fact, The Real McCoy is actually an imitation, freely adapted from Desmond Lowden's Bellman and True by the same writing team who had brought us Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot the previous year. The peculiar (read: bad) style of editing seems to indicate that the film was either re-shot and re-cut by the studio at the last minute (or maybe this was Mulcahy's original muddy vision, there's no telling), there isn't much to truly admire here overall, save for those moments where Val Kilmer somehow manages to give the film a bit of honor amongst its thieves.
Fortunately for fans of mediocre movies from the '90s, The Real McCoy has returned to see how many times you can shake your head in one sitting thanks to the folks at Kino Lorber. And the many layers of finely-aged fromage this title presents is all the more enjoyable with Kino's new High-Definition transfer ‒ and once you see that very '90s-looking bank vault in full 1080p, you'll see what I mean. The above average MPEG-4 AVC encode is accompanied by DTS-HD MA tracks in 2.0 and 5.1. The latter track doesn't have much to offer for a 5.1 mix, but then, this is The Real McCoy we're talking about, so I suppose fakers can't be choosers.
Supplemental materials for Kino Lorber's presentation of The Real McCoy include an optional English (SDH) subtitle track, an audio commentary with Russell Mulcahy, who was gracious enough to take time away from his busy schedule of picking up residual checks for this occasion. The original theatrical trailer ‒ in all of its magnificent '90s preview glory ‒ is also on display here. Ultimately, however, there's not much anyone could have done to make the movie memorable or "good" 26 years after the fact. That said, fans of cheesy '90s heist thrillers will probably want to snag this one off of the shelf. Legally, I hope.