Pat O'Neill, one of the most interesting filmmakers in America today, offers a dazzling reflection on the conflict between nature and man in Los Angeles, or the desertification of the city's surroundings due to its enormous water consumption. More interestingly, it is also a film in the age-old tradition of city symphonies: a film about LA's foundation myths and the dreams it embodies, about its history and (grim) future, its topography and ethnography. O'Neill uses footage from several classic films to recreate the several layers of meaning emanating from the city, juxtaposing images and fantasies and hardly ever allowing one picture to go untouched. George Lockwood's swarming soundtrack is likewise composed of conflicting languages, an elaborate work of plunderphonics in which snippets of sound stolen from movies collide with electronic soundscapes, contemporary chamber music, improv, and what not.
In the opening chase, Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh stumble across a trunk full of Krugerrands. They follow the trail to a South African diplomat who's using his immunity to conceal a smuggling operation.
When secretive new neighbors move in next door, suburbanite Ray Peterson and his friends let their paranoia get the best of them as they start to suspect the newcomers of evildoings and commence an investigation.