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Midnight Sting [DVD]

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A loan shark backs Caine's bet, with the understanding that his health and welfare will be riding on the outcome. Gillon has lost everything, leading Caine to correct him with an admonishment: "Actually, I believe it goes: Never con a con-man, especially one who's better than you are. This movie will have you gripped from the beginning as it starts with a prison fight and develops into Gabriel (James woods), pulling of a huge con with the help of Lou Gossett Junior.

It is a classic con, just like in many such films that have come before, and like them all, it depends on the mark being a thoroughly detestable chap to work. No chapter selection screen, no trailer, merely the static menu screen with the same four icons as every other recent MGM back catalogue release. However, the new boy's concentration is diverted by baseball groupie Susan Sarandon, who picks a lover from the team every year to train in the erotic arts. James Woods is expertly cast as Gabriel and his ease at playing a hustler is entertaining throughout. As the fights begin and the double crosses begin to spiral out of control, Palmer must reach inside himself to recapture the glory of his youth and ensure victory for Caine.

There are also some racial slurs that seem over the top compared to today’s standards but only help to highlight how villainous John Gillon and his goons are. Gabe, recognising a golden opportunity, bets the town`s powerful boss (Bruce Dern) that his fighter will defeat ten opponents in 24 hours. But Roy comes out swinging, pulverising one contender after another, leading to a final exciting bout that may decide the ownership of the town itself! Robby Gillon, the son of John Gillon, approaches the ring next, but then backs out under instructions from his father.

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However, the story does take a sinister turn that is a little unexpected given the initially frivolous nature of the script. Diggstown is a small town built on the name of one Charles Macum Diggs, famous boxer now fallen on hard times.

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