1985, R, 112 min. Directed by Fritz Kiersch. Starring James Spader, Kim Richards, aul Mones, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Clark.
REVIEWED By Steve Davis, Fri., Jan. 25, 1985
Imagine a WASPy, pre-schooled James Dean in an Izod and white Adidas tennis shoes and you've got the rebellious teenaged hero of Tuff Turf. It's an Interesting premise – a button-down rebel who reads Shakespeare – but the film never quite overcomes its teen movie exploitation limitations to be subversive enough to propel it out of that tired genre. Director Fritz Kiersch has lots of style to spare but he relies too much on disturbingly typical teenage stereotypes. Most of the girls here look like Madonna: lots of makeup painted on in a pouty sneer, costume jewelry and chains hanging from every appendage, hair with a mind of its own, tight tank tops … you know, like whores. They guys come off no better, with the exceptions of the Aryan hero (Spader) and his drum-playing buddy, the latter nicely played with unaffected sweetness by newcomer Robert Downey. If Tuff Turf had used a little more of Downey's relaxed intelligence and amiability, and a little less teenage angst and sense of violence as retribution, it might have been tough stuff. As it is, it's a lightweight in a genre populated with featherweights.