½*/**** Image D+ Sound D+
starring Gene Hackman, Matt Dillon, Gayle Hunnicutt, Josef Sommer
screenplay by Howard Berk and Don Petersen
directed by Arthur Penn
by Walter Chaw Of the myriad disappointments of Arthur Penn's atrocious Target, one of the smaller ones is the appalling score by Michael Small, who, in the Seventies, was doing very fine work on Penn films like Night Moves and Alan Pakula flicks like The Parallax View and Klute. His music for Target reminds of the incidental cues on "Scarecrow and Mrs. King". The rest runs the gamut from flat direction from one of the prime architects of the amazing cinema of the American '70s, an unspeakable screenplay by non-native speaker José Luis Navarro and some idiot named Don Petersen, a pair of squandered (if only mediocre) performances from the great Gene Hackman and the badly-miscast Matt Dillon, and a plot that's an unapologetic ripper of John Schlesinger's Marathon Man. It's such a bad film, in fact, that the only enjoyment to be had from the thing is through the cruel deconstruction of its gaping implausibility. If Target finally provides a few chuckles, it does so at the expense of one of the United States' genuinely important actors (Hackman, natch) and directors.