"A federal agent is
dead, a killer is loose, and the City of Angels is about
to explode..." To Live and Die in LA,
which was released in 1985, was a thriller that starred
William Petersen as Richard Chance, John Pankow as John
Vukovich, and Willem Dafoe as Rick Masters.
The movie received mixed reviews, but some heavy
hitters, such as Roger Ebert, really liked it.
This helped propel it at the box office, where it became
a very profitable film for United Artists.
In the movie, Secret Service agent Chance
vows to avenge the death of his partner at the hands of
counterfeiter Rick Masters. Chance's partner,
Vukovich, wants to do everything by the book, where
Chance works close to the edge of acceptable tactics and
often crosses the line. Chance vows to do whatever
it takes to bring Masters down. In an effort to
trap Masters into a counterfeit sting, the agents go so
far as to rob criminals of money to pay Master's the fee
he requires for the ruse to go forward. In
reality, the criminal they thought they were robbing was
an FBI agent, who ends up being killed by Chance during
In the end, Chance is
killed by Masters, and it is Vukovich who must bring
Masters to justice. He does this by eventually
killing Masters, and in the end, he becomes as ruthless
as Chance in getting the bad guys any way possible.