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Film / Cohen and Tate

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They were hired killers going up against the deadliest force of all...Each other.

Cohen and Tate is a suspenseful high tension 1989 thriller starring Roy Scheider and Adam Baldwin about a boy that's been kidnapped by two mismatched hitmen.

The boy tries to put them at each other's throats while being driven to their employers, possibly to be killed. Cohen, an older no-nonsense, straight-laced, professional becomes increasingly irritated with his partner Tate, a young, brutish, hot-tempered, psychopathic killer. When their prisoner uses unnatural guile and resourcefulness to play them off against each other the movie becomes filled with edgy, suffocating tension. Written and directed by Eric Red, who also brought us Near Dark and The Hitcher.


The film provides examples of:

  • Ax-Crazy: Tate is a psychopath obsessed with hurting and/or killing everyone he can.
  • Badass Longcoat: Cohen wears a long trench coat.
  • Balance of Power: Possibly why Cohen & Tate was forced to work with each other so they can compensate for each other's personality, flaws, strengths, and weakness. Cohen balance out Tate's hotheadedness, Tate balances out Cohen's age, and physical weakness.
  • Batman Gambit: Travis pulls this on his captors by figuring out Cohen and Tate's psychological weaknesses. Cohen is old and weary, and Tate is a unhinged reckless psyho.
  • Boring, but Practical: Cohen's method of killing. And ironically the thing that screws him and Tate over in the end.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Cohen. Actually the only one in the movie with a bit of sarcasm.
  • Divide and Conquer: Travis play Cohen and Tate off of each other.
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  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Travis does this A LOT to Tate. But this is part of his gambit to get the tension between Tate and Cohen to build up. As he knows Cohen won't allow Tate to hurt him before they get to their employers.
  • Driven to Suicide: Cohen shoots himself in front of Travis after realizing there was no escape after being surrounded by police in every direction.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Cohen and Tate, who already had feud to start with, end up fighting and trying to kill each other.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The FBI agents assigned to protect the Knight family whom apparently was in a witness protection program. Good all that did, as Cohen and Tate effortless waltzed in and killed most of everyone.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Cohen is VERY skilled with his Colt pistol. he shoots a state trooper in the back of the head while driving behind said troopers squad car. After suspecting of being recognized by the gas station attendant he shoots the clerk several yards away, and the phone he was using, including shooting out the power to the gas station!!, Travis' dad was one lucky mofo to survive being shot by this guy.
  • Irony: Cohen pretty much chew out Tate over the fact he's a Loose Canon, and being careless and sloppy. The irony comes from the fact that Tate, makes sure all of his victims are deader than dead, while Cohen's reserved, practical method of killing Travis dad with one shot fails to get the job done. Essentially setting into motion their gradual downfall.
  • I Work Alone: Cohen apparently use to, but was forced to work with Tate by their employers.
  • Loose Canon: Tate, being a hot headed psycho..
  • Oh, Crap!: When Travis see that Tate is still alive after looking through the back windshield, whom was creepily illuminated thanks to the red brake lights.
  • Order Versus Chaos: Cohen and Tate are almost physical manifestations of this respectively. Cohen being calm and level headed, while Tate is the polar opposite.
  • Plethora of Mistakes: Whoo boy... possibly starting with the fact that Cohen botched his kill (Travis' dad). Which led to a gradual domino effect of issues.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Cohen and Tate, So much so they can't even stand each other, and start to show signs of very short nerves towards the end. Travis of course helps move this along.
  • Road Trip Plot: 90% of the movie takes place on the road.
  • Tempting Fate: Travis does this A LOT to Tate. But this is part of his gambit to get the tension between Tate and Cohen to build up. As he knows Cohen won't allow Tate to hurt him before they get to their employers.
  • The Sociopath: Cohen could be this. Unlike Tate he rarely shows emotions. He kills people without losing his composture and he outright tells Travis that he'll be probably killed by his boss after being interrogated. However, after all that happened and near the end, Cohen points his gun at Travis several times, but he decides against it, showing a little bit of humanity, which is even pointed out by Travis himself.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Tate uses SIX shotgun shells to kill Travis's mom, while Cohen shoots his dad just once (a shot that didn't kill him). Which leads to the Plethora of Mistakes.
  • Witness Protection: The Knight family, for being a witness in a organized crime case.
  • You're Insane!: Travis yells at Cohen that Tate is "nuts", in which Cohen replies by wearily saying "I Know".