Ty Burr
April 12, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Narrow Margin

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
97 minutes
performer
Anne Archer, Gene Hackman, James B. Sikking, J.T. Walsh, M. Emmet Walsh
director
Peter Hyams
distributor
TriStar Pictures
author
Peter Hyams
genre
ActionAdventure, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a C+

It came in and out of theaters like a bullet train. But, thanks to Gene Hackman’s cagey professionalism and a reliable old thriller plot, Narrow Margin seems sure to find an appreciative audience on video.

A remake of the highly regarded 1952 B film of the same title (recently reissued on videocassette), Narrow Margin puts deputy DA Hackman on a cross-Canada train protecting Anne Archer, who has witnessed a mob killing. Two hired hit men are also aboard; the catch is that they don’t know what Archer looks like. There isn’t a twist in this track you won’t see coming a mile off, and the dialogue by writer-director Peter Hyams (The Star Chamber, 2010) is blabby, as usual. At one point Archer’s character says, referring to the murder she saw, ”It’s not like it is on television.” Of course, everything in this movie is exactly like it is on television, but Narrow Margin pushes the buttons just skillfully enough that you don’t mind. C+

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