Reappraising this after a few years' absence it actually wears it's venal vulgarities with a contagious swagger. Utter twaddle but it knows where it's going and proceeds there over the speed limit using the highest lead fuel possible. This high octane cheek is sadly missing from much contemporary mainstream cinema. Goldsmith's gorgeous score is silkily sly.
25 years later Verhoeven's take on the American thriller is still an adrenaline rush of sex, perversion and murder. Jerry Goldsmith's now classic score drives the film as does Verhoeven's audacity in drawing performance and making use of a very Hitchcockian San Francisco. The controversial elements have long since dissipated leaving a strong thriller behind despite its third act problems from writer Joe Eszterhas.
Very likely the platonic ideal of the erotic thriller. Jerry Goldsmith's sweeping score and the gorgeous San Francisco scenery link the film to Hitchcock and add a touch of class. The script turns the noir trope of the anti-hero on its head, portraying Michael Douglas' character as an unrepentant sleazeball: a trigger-happy cokehead, presumably grieving his wife's death, just looking to get off before he's offed.
There’s good reason this isn’t ranked alongside Verhoeven’s other pulp classics of sex and violence; it’s fun and stylish but hardly nails the sublime trash of Robocop or Showgirls. The hints of America’s obsession with violent narratives and the ridiculous way Douglas’ character sheds all self-control for a beautiful woman are amusing but get lost in how successful the film is as the excess-fest it should be mocking