52 Pick-Up sits on the border of what we tend to get involved in at BTG, however being a stand up thriller it’s certainly worth a review. First of all I have to mention the high quality of the Blu-ray transfer, the picture is crisp and is more apparent when there are scenes shot with poor lighting a superb job overall.
Harry Mitchell, a wealthy steel company owner (Roy Scheider) is living the life of luxury in L.A, big house, a successful attractive wife and a Jaguar XK-E sat on the drive! His life is put on hold when masked men blackmail him with tapes of Harry and his mistress - apparently the perfect life just wasn’t enough for Harry. The men have been following his moves closely for months and have all the seedy tapes to prove it! They want $105,000, a drop in the ocean of what Harry brings home each year. Harry decides not to go to the police as his wife is involved in politics and running for office.
Harry give's them the finger and doesn’t meet their demands, the men turn up the heat - they show Harry a new film, this time it’s his mistress tied to a chair, she is shot with Harry’s gun which they managed to retrieve from his own house, along with other possessions that would easily frame him for the murder. Harry has no option but to yield with their requests. He comes clean to his wife about the affair and lets her know the situation that he’s in. He turns his attention to the men, there are 3, all different in nature but all are grimy low-lives hell bent on making an easy buck.
The leader is called Alan he runs a seedy outfit, producing low brow porn which he can play at his xxx cinema, he has two partners in crime, one who runs a strip joint and another who seems to be a cold blooded killer - carrying out the dirty work for the group.
Harry starts to play the men off against each other, talking about deals that are going on behind each other’s back and eventually cracks begin to show in the group. Seemingly Harry is more intelligent than the crooks first took him to be. The remainder of the film plays out as a puzzle until the finale takes place and has its ‘edge of the seat’ moments too.
Although there are multiple scenes of ‘schlock’ cinema it never really feels too cheap or sleazy, the moments of nudity are usually separated by lengthy scenes of plot development, all of which make you intrigued to know how the situation is going to end up.
Overall 52 Pick-Up is a great thriller, I fully appreciate the range of emotions that Roy Scheider takes us through from the initial shock, to fear and finally resilience when playing the trio against each other. The film doesn’t come across as trashy but more a well thought out thriller that is well paced and has a great ending.