To Live and Die in L.A.

To Live and Die in L.A. Movie Poster

"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 their altercation.

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.