Off Limits (1988): Christopher Crowe’s Vietnam-Set Detective Story, Willem Dafoe and Gregory Hines

In Christopher Crowe’s Off Limits, based on a screenplay by him and Jack Thibeau, two military cops are hunting an insane killer of several prostitutes in Saigon.

This detective drama, set during the Vietnam War, presents its ironic overtones by paralleling the story of the senseless killings of obscure hookers against the backdrop of a tragic war and its waste of human life.

Their efforts are hampered by reluctant Saigon police officials, murdered witnesses, and a sergeant of the army’s Criminal Investigation Detachment (CID), who tries to cover for a suspected military officer.

However, in the end, motivated by conviction, the two sleuths pursue the case effectively.

Some cruel acts are depicted: an unbalanced colonel throws uncooperative Vietnamese captives to their deaths from a helicopter, after two questioning about the murders of the prostitutes.

Borderline exploitational, this sordid film, with its depiction of Saigon’s sleazy red-light section and its low-life characters, is reminiscent of the post-World War II film-noir dramas.

Many good actors, such as Willem Dafoe, Gregory Hines, Fred Ward, and Keith David, appear in this melodrama.


Released by Fox

Release Date: March 11, 1966

Produced by Alan Barnette

Music: James Newton Howard

Running time: 101 Minutes