Off Limits (1988) - Rotten Tomatoes

Off Limits (1988)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Set in Vietnam during the height of the war, this murder mystery centers on the attempts of two disparate military investigators assigned to learn which Army officer has been killing Saigon hookers.


Willem Dafoe
as Buck McGriff
Gregory Hines
as Albaby Perkins
Kay Tong Lim
as Lime Green
Scott Glenn
as Col. Dexter Armstrong
Keith David
as Maurice
Raymond O'Connor
as Staff Sgt. Flowers
Fr. Buncha
as Bishop
Hoang Nga
as Vietnamese Interpreter
Richard Lee Reed
as Col. Sparks
Woody Brown
as Copilot
Kenneth Siu
as Ploughboy
Nguyen Kim Hoa
as Sapper's Mother
Norah Elizabeth Cazaux
as Mother Superior
Boonchai Jakraworawut
as ARVN Interpreter
Piathip Khumwong
as Dragonlady
Piathip Kumwong
as Dragonlady
Louis Roth
as Captain
Kanya Wongsawasdi
as Nguyen Tri Quan
Ken Siu
as Ploughboy
"Arm" Suvinit Pornvalai
as V.C. Taxi Driver
Coconut Kid
as Dead Whore's Baby
Look Nam
as Whore #1
Pravit Piyasirikul
as VC Prisoner
Tawan Mahathavorn
as VC Prisoner
Jean Phuturoj
as Vietnamese Interpreter
Somboun Phuturoj
as Vietnamese Interpreter
Elizabeth Nguyen Thi
as Vietnamese Interpreter
View All

Critic Reviews for Off Limits

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (1)

It is grimness without redemption, violence without mercy, and it lacks even the cheap cynicism that makes some Hollywood potboilers watchable.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

There are tensions, which might have been drawn out, but aren't; and the greatest let-down is that the man you think did it, did do it.

April 9, 2019 | Full Review…

It's a film about ordinary people put in unordinary circumstances pressed to extraordinary levels, and the film itself becomes extraordinary by the effort.

December 11, 2017 | Full Review…

An explosive picture! Dafoe is typically great

October 26, 2008 | Rating: 3/5

The overseas setting of this whodunit fails to offset what is basically a lackluster story peopled by unsavory characters.

August 27, 2004 | Rating: 1/5

A noteworthy detective thriller set against a Vietnam war backdrop. Dafoe and Hines investigate a slew of prostitute murders in Saigon.

March 19, 2003 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for Off Limits

The only good thing I can say about this movie is its a cop movie set in Vietnam but other then that, Thats it.Within the 1st 10 minutes of the movie I figured out who the killer was.Yay for me

Brody Manson
Brody Manson

Super Reviewer


Even though its set during the Vietnam war Off Limits is first and foremost a genuine cop thriller, set in a hellish environment torn apart through warfare, and an effectively disturbing portrait of the horrible issues caused by American soldiers outside of the battlefields. McGriff and Perkins have the worst jobs in the world, since they're employed as army police officers in Saigon and responsible to investigate the crimes committed by American soldiers. One day they're assigned to investigate the murder of a Vietnamese prostitute who had a child with an American soldier. They quickly discover this isn't the first gruesome crime of its kind, as no less than seven similar cases were reported during the past year and they're clearly the work of a serial killer with a strict modus operandi. The devoted and headstrong duo also discovers that the previous officer prematurely quit his investigation even though he came fairly close to capturing the killer, undoubtedly because several high ranked officers got involved and his own life became endangered. McGriff and Perkins, however, are determined to stop to sadist killer, especially when they receive help from a beautiful and street-wise young novice. "Off Limits" is a fast-paced, suspense and frequently very violent thriller with a screenplay that is full of misleading twists, false leads and red herrings, like a legitimate and compelling whodunit thriller ought to be. Some sequences are even downright fantastic, for instance the helicopter-interrogation (Scott Glenn is sublime) or the nail-biting scene where the copper duo is surrounded by a mob of furious and vengeful Vietnamese people. Christopher Crowe's direction is tight and consequently surefooted ? which is quite remarkable for a debut feature ? and his own script is *almost* completely devoid of dreadful clichés and irritating stereotypes. I do emphasize the word 'almost' because a Vietnam movie without mad-raving American officers and/or foul-mouthed Vietnamese prostitutes is practically unthinkable. Dafoe and Hines provide some terrific on screen chemistry, but they certainly aren't your typical witty interracial buddies like Eddie Murphy & Nick Nolte in "48 Hours" or Mel Gibson & Danny Glover in "Lethal Weapon". They tease and provoke each other all the time, but the atmosphere of the film and the nature of the events are simply to austere to mix with comedy. The film is beautifully shot and has a marvelous soundtrack filled with timeless contemporary songs from James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Arthur Resnick. "Off Limits" is a terrific and incomprehensibly overlooked film. If you have the opportunity to watch it, please do so without hesitation.

David Ladd
David Ladd

Super Reviewer

Off Limits Quotes

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