Satirizing a Thirties crime drama (tough copper, wise dick, true love) would be like teaching your proverbial grandmother to suck eggs, whereas a little delectation of the style is delectable, so the spoofing is directed at the players: Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds are a parody of Burt Reynolds and Dom De Luise, Eastwood magnifies a certain familiar tic, etc.
The Benjamin touch might be visible in the big shoot-out Eastwood sits out until he’s nearly hit and enters the fray. The scene goes on and on, incidentally lighting him to resemble Chuck Connors somehow, and when he finally moves he takes up a shotgun and strides up the avenue like Lucas McCain cleaning up North Fork.
The delicate plot construction has two sleepy plant-nursery workers in San Diego actually KGB sleepers, their son wants to go to the Air Force Academy, a renegade KGB operative wants to be paid and kills a water-skier to make his point, a top man is sent from Moscow, a Major seconded to the FBI has the whole thing in the palm of his hand.
The money crosses the border, however, by way of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, in a manner of speaking. The scene is swelled with snippets of MacMillan’s Sleeping Beauty danced by Martine Van Hamel and the ABT (as the Kirov on tour). And Richard Lynch. And Laszlo Kovacs’ pictures. And Loretta Devine.