Midnight Run (1988)

Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Comedy

Movie Time: 126:15

SYNOPSIS: Jack Walsh, a bounty hunter in L. A., has a mission to find an escaped suspect: “Duke” and take him back in five days. Duke was the accountant of Jimmy Serrano, who was the godfather of the Mafia. He stole Serrano's 15 million dollars and contributed the money to the charity. Now he's jumped the bail. Jack gets Duke in New York and heads back to L. A. with him. Jack is now being hunted down by the mob, FBI and bounty hunters

On the journey, Jack sees that Duke is a good guy. This awakens his conscience. Serrano was Jack’s enemy. And he knows if Duke is caught by Serrano or FBI, he is dead. So the closer they get to L. A., the more Jack fights with himself mentally. He has to make a choice...

ACT I

SEQUENCE ONE

World of the Story: In America, the wave of crime prospers and is booming for Bail Bondsmen. As the commercial bailmen are making fat profits, they also have risks: sometimes their clients jump the bails, that means they have trouble. So they bring in Bounty Hunters: They hunt around the city, find the suspects and bring them back. Violence and danger are their lives. Only the toughest and fastest will get the prey...

Introduce the Protagonist: Jack Walsh (Robert DeNiro), a bounty hunter. He was a Chicago Policeman but got screwed and kicked out. Then his wife left him with their daughter. So he went to L. A. and started his bounty hunter life.

Protagonist Weakness: Jack looks a tough man, a survivor of the city juggle. But deep inside him it is an upright, conscientious and compassionate man. This forces him to fight with himself mentally when he is escorting Duke back to L. A.

Introduce Supporting Characters:

Jonathan Mardukas (Charles Grodin), the “Duke." He was the accountant of Jimmy Serrano. When he found out Serrano was a villain. He left him with his 15 million dollars of black money. Now, he is wanted both by Serrano and FBI.

Eddie Moscone (Joe Pantoliano): "The Boss" - he bailed Duke out. So if he doesn’t find Duke before Friday midnight, he is out of 450,000.

Introduce the Antagonist #1: Jimmy Serrano: The godfather of the Mafia. He ran Jack Walsh out of the Chicago police and now he wants Duke to die.

Introduce the Antagonist #2: Marvin Dorfler (John Ashton), another bounty hunter, Jack’s rival: rude, violent and stupid. He just wants to make money as much money off of Duke as he can, be it selling him to Eddie or Serrano.

Status Quo: After much runaround, Jack is tired. Now he wants to retire and open a coffee shop.

Status Obstacle: But Jack has no money for his coffee shop.

Dramatic Premise:  Jack has a chance to get one-hundred thousand dollars if he finds Duke and brings him back before Friday at midnight.

*Inciting Incident: Eddie hands a case to Jack: Jonathan Mardukas (Duke) jumped the bail. He must be found and taken back in five days or Eddie will lose 450 thousand. Jack refuses to take it unless Eddie pays him one-hundred thousand. Eddie has to accept the condition. The deadline will be Friday midnight. There’re five days left for Jack. (7:13)

SEQUENCE TWO

Introduce the Antagonist#3: Alonzo Mosely (Yaphet Kotto), is an FBI inspector. He wants Duke to testify against Jimmy Serrano and won’t let Jack in on it.

Protagonist’s Objective: Jack is going to find Duke and bring him back to get the one-hundred thousand.

Predicament Obstacle: FBI warns Jack to stay out of Duke's situation. And Jimmy Serrano’s men come with Jack, and tell him Serrano wants Duke too. But Jack doesn’t know where Duke is, and now there’re only five days left for him.

Establish Main Tension: It’s a big question if Jack will be able to accomplish the mission or not.

Predicament Solution: Jack goes to his connections in the police to consult the file of Duke’s case. He finds the people Duke called first when he was arrested. It was Mrs. Nelson in New York. So Jack goes to New York. He calls Mrs. Nelson in name of Alonzo Mosely, tells her there’s still some troubles with Duke’s case. Mrs. Nelson calls Duke to tell him about this. Jack taps the call and records the dial tone. He gets Duke’s phone number and spots his house.

*The Lock In: In the night Jack sneaks into Duke’s house and catches him red-handed. (18:18)

ACT II

SEQUENCE THREE 

Introduce Sub-Plot: Duke tries to persuade Jack to let him go. He tells him Serrano is a villain. He stole his money just for helping people. But Jack doesn't care.

Failure & Ramifications: Jack hops on a plane with Duke. Before the plane takes off Duke pretends to have an aerophobia. They get off the plane and Jack has to take the train.

Rising Complications: A mole inside the bail bondsmen: Jerry Geisler (Jack Kehoe), squeals to Serrano about Jack and Duke. The FBI agents have been taping the phone line and get it too. Jack and Duke didn’t arrive in L.A. with the flight. Eddie is worried and decides to bring in Marvin.

First Obstacle and Resolution: Marvin boards the train and tries to take out Duke, but he is knocked out by Jack.

Faillure & Ramifications: Jack knows if Marvin knows where they are, the FBI and Serrano know too. He gets off the train with Duke and they take the bus.

Sub-Plot Revival: On the bus Duke keeps chattering, asking Jack about his family and why he was kicked out of the police. Jack doesn’t tell.

SEQUENCE FOUR  

New Obstacle & Resolution: At the bus station, Jack and Duke are arrested by the FBI, but Serrano’s killers shoot at them. Jack and Duke get away when the two sides are fighting with each other.

Sub-Plot Revival: Jack and Duke get to Chicago. They go to see Jack’s ex-wife Gail (Wendy Phillips) and daughter Denise (Danielle Duclos) to borrow some money. Duke finds Jack still loves them deeply, and starts to understand why he was kicked out of the police: because he wouldn’t take bribes from drug dealers like the others in the force. 

Character Arc: When Jack and Duke is leaving Gail’s house, Jack picks up Duke’s coat-tail from the car door. This subtle detail reveals they are beginning their friendship.

The Second Highest Obstacle: Jack and Duke get to Amarillo, Texas. As they are receiving the remittance from Eddie, they are captured by Serrano’s men.

* First Culmination/Midpoint: Marvin cuts in surprisedly and takes them away from the Mafia. They drive on a winding road, avoiding the fires from the helicopter of the mafia. At a bridge they rush down the slope and become locked behind a pier by the helicopter. Jack shoots the helicopter at its rear propeller. It loses control and crashes at the rock wall (69:27).

The Second Highest Obstacle Resolution: Jack and Duke got rid of the mafia and dumped Marvin off. Then they both fall into the lotic river. Duke saves Jack’s life.

SEQUENCE FIVE

Rising Subplot: Jack and Duke are wandering around the wild west. Duke tries to run away twice but all stoped by Jack. Now they have no vehicle, no money, and no direction. They pretend to be FBI agents who are tracking counterfeiters and confiscate some twenty dollar bills from a bar.

Subplot Culmination: They hop on a westbound cargo train. On the journey they delve back into conversation. Duke finally finds out that the drug dealer who ran Jack out of Chicago Police was just Jimmy Serrano.

Character Arc: Jack finds he and Duke have been friends with the same enemy: Jimmy Serrano. And he knows taking Duke back to L.A. is going to get him killed.

SEQUENCE SIX

The Highest Obstacle and Rising Action: The train arrives at a small town in Arizona, troops of policemen have been waiting here. Jack and Duke jump off the train before the policemen find them and steal a car.

*Main Culmination:  The patrol cars follow them... Jack leaves the road and rushes into the desert and launches a race against the policemen. The following cars are all overturned by the rugged ground. Jack and Duke get out of the encirclement. (95:45)

Resolution of Act Two: Jack and Duke want to take a ride with a car which is coming towards them. They don’t see it is Marvin. Marvin knocks Jack out with the car door and takes Duke away. Jack snaps out of it, just to be arrested by the FBI.

ACT III

SEQUENCE SEVEN

New Tension: Marvin locks Duke in the motel and goes to make a deal with Serrano’s men for two million dollars. He has a photo with him to show he has Duke. But that photo isn't what it seems: Serrano’s men see the motel’s mark on a towel in the photo. They beat Marvin out and find Duke in the motel.

Act III Objective: Jack calls Eddie and finds he doesn’t have Duke. He knows Duke had fallen into Serrano’s hands and wants to save him.

Act III Obstacle: Jack is trapped by the FBI and can’t help Duke.

Obstacle Solution: Jack offers a deal with Alonzo: He helps the FBI to take out Jimmy Serrano, with the FBI giving Duke to him. Alonzo accepts.

The Final Culmination: Jack calls Serrano, tells him he has the disk of his crime evidence and wants to exchange it for Duke. Serrano goes to the Vegas Airport with Duke for the disk and falls into the FBI’s trap. Alonzo fulfills his promise and gives Duke back to Jack. 

*Third Act Twist: Jack and Duke arrive in L. A. by Friday midnight. At the airport Jack calls Eddie to show he has accomplished the mission. Then he lets Duke go. (118: 47)

SEQUENCE EIGHT

The Resolution: Duke is very grateful to Jack. He gives Jack about three-hundred thousand dollars as a gift for being his friend, all in thousand dollar bills. And then they say goodbye to each other.

New Status Quo: Jack can’t find a taxi so he has to take a long walk through the downtown in the midnight. Good luck with your coffee shop, Jack! 

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