Tom Selleck has had one of the more intriguing what if film careers. If he had been able to get out of his contract for the television show Magnum, P.I. and done Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) who knows how his career would’ve turned out? Instead, he ended up doing a string of entertaining but mostly forgettable fare such as High Road to China (1983), Lassiter (1984), and Runaway (1984) that all underperformed at the box office to one degree or another as people were by and large content to watch him every week on T.V. It wasn’t until the smash hit of Three Men and a Baby (1990) that he had a significant financial success. Of all the movies he did in the early to mid-1980s, Lassiter is the most interesting effort.
Jane Seymour is well cast as Selleck’s foil. Sarah enjoys their lifestyle but is not crazy about his current gig and doesn’t understand why they can’t just take off to Rome or parts elsewhere. He tells her, “Someone else dealt the cards, Sarah. I’m just playing them out,” to which she replies, “Well, you’re holding a losing hand now, Nick.” She is a strong-willed person that loves her husband but won’t have her life sent in a direction she doesn’t like and Seymour does a fine job conveying her character’s strength.
The always reliable Ed Lauter is cast refreshingly against type as Smoke, a prolific car thief and Lassiter’s best friend. Known mostly for playing cops and authority figures, he must’ve jumped at the opportunity to sink his teeth into a character on the opposite side of the law. He has an excellent scene with Selleck where Smoke and Lassiter reminisce about the good ol’ days when they bootlegged liquor during Prohibition.