Two professional assassins are sent to kidnap a 9-year-old boy named Travis Knight (Harley Cross), who is under the United States Federal Witness Protection Program after witnessing a mob killing in Texas. Cohen (Roy Scheider) is the older, jaded assassin with a little bit of humanity still in him. Tate (Adam Baldwin) is the younger, hotheaded and psychopathic killer.
The two hitmen assassinate the boy’s parents and the agent who protected them with the help of another agent who lets them get in the house and then runs away. They capture Travis and drive him away to see their boss, in Houston. When Travis learns this from Cohen, he takes advantage of a rising antagonism between his hijackers to further entangle and pit one against the other in order to survive.
When his captors are distracted Travis escapes and is soon picked up by a trooper, who is later shot in the head by Cohen while he’s driving. Once again they capture Travis and then they hear on the radio that the boy’s father survived the attack and is only injured, and the police are after their trail. Tate wants to get rid of Travis but Cohen does not. They suddenly find a roadblock ahead and manage to escape by threatening to kill Travis and blowing up the police patrols.
They swap cars with a driver after he gets brass knuckles in the face from Tate. Cohen suddenly stops driving and parks beside a mailbox. Without saying a word, with an expression of grief (coming from the suspicion of what could be his last job), he sends part of his payment and his money clip in a letter to his wife. Travis finally manages to turn his captors on each other, when he realizes that Tate is about to shoot the sleepy Cohen while he is driving. He shouts at Cohen, warning him. This enrages Tate, who calls Travis a liar. Travis spits at Tate, and when Tate tries to harm him, he gets shot and chucked out of the moving car by Cohen, who later stows his body in the trunk.
Cohen and Tate (also known as Cohen & Tate) is a 1989 American thriller film written and directed by Eric Red and starring Roy Scheider, Adam Baldwin and Harley Cross. It was Red’s feature film debut. The film is considered as a cinematic version of O. Henry’s short story The Ransom of Red Chief.
Cohen and Tate (1989)
Directed by: Eric Red
Starring: Roy Scheider, Adam Baldwin, Harley Cross, Cooper Huckabee, Suzanne Savoy, Marco Perella, Tom Campitelli, Frank Bates, Jeff Bennett
Screenplay by: Eric Red
Production Design by: David M. Haber
Cinematography by: Victor J. Kemper
Film Editing by: Edward M. Abroms
Costume Design by: Verkina Flower
Music by: Bill Conti
Distributed by: Hemdale Film Corporation
Release Date: January 27, 1989