Burt Reynolds has been in great films such as Deliverance (1972); in some fun ones, like Smokey and the Bandit (1977), and he has been in some duds. Unfortunately, Impasse (1968) falls into the last category. While I commend the new MOD (Manufacturing On Demand) series from MGM, with which they only manufacture the DVDs on a per-order basis, sometimes there are reasons these the films have been ignored over the years. Impasse might appeal to Burt fanatics, but it is not his best film by a long shot.
Actually, it is unfair to blame Reynolds, after all he did not write the script, and it came early in his career. The basic plot is well-worn. During World War II, a cache of gold was hidden, and Burt and his cronies are out to find it. There are some strange plot twists to this flick, leading to some big fight scenes, which Reynolds always excelled at. The problem is that the story is pretty plodding. This is no Indiana Jones movie, that’s for sure.
His first task is to assemble the group who had hidden the gold in Manila in the first place. One of them is available, one is in jail, and one is MIA. The jail breakout scene is kind of fun, if a little hard to swallow. Then there is the man who is said to be dead, although the protagonists know he is actually alive and somewhere in the country. Coincidentally, his daughter (who provides the love interest for Reynolds) is a champion tennis player, and is in a tournament in Manila.
Through an unscrupulous tabloid reporter, they finally find the man, and he is able to provide the missing piece of the puzzle as to the location of the gold. Anyone who has seen The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) knows the final outcome though. These things never work out as planned.
Impasse is for Burt Reynolds completists. This type of story has been told in so many superior forms over the years that Impasse is just redundant. Since it has been out of circulation forever though, you may wish to check it out for yourself. On paper, it sounded fairly interesting – which is why I opted for it. Just keep in mind that this is definitely not one of his most essential outings.