Now this is a film I know a lot of people haven’t heard of, which is a shame because...well obviously I think it’s good if it’s on my list. For some useless information, it’s actually the film being shown in the cinema in The Final Destination (with a different title and 3-D effects added). There were a lot of run-of-the-mill action movies released in the 90s, too many to name. But I always thought those ones were just alright. Here’s a 90s action flick I enjoyed so here we go.
Meet mild mannered Samantha Caine (Geena Davis); she’s a 30-something school teacher living in a small town in Pennsylvania, with a husband and 8-year old daughter Caitlyn. She seems pretty normal right? Wrong, as she can only remember the last 8 years of her life, the rest is just a blur. She has no idea who she used to be, or even who Caitlyn’s father is. Then one day, a criminal sees Samantha on the TV and tracks her down, trying to kill her. The shocking part? Samantha kills him. She then takes off with a private investigator in order to uncover the details of her past. It gets worse – turns out our frumpy little school teacher used to be a highly paid assassin whose bosses thought was dead for the last 8 years.
If you’re familiar with Geena Davis’s acting career, you’ll notice that the character she plays in the first few minutes of the film is probably the typical character she’s used to playing. Then she’s playing a completely different role to the one she’s used to for the next 75% of the film. It is interesting to watch ditzy Thelma or the business like President Allen as a badass assassin. If I’m being totally honest, she doesn’t do the best job she could. Some of her lines don’t sound right, but for the most part she does just fine. The supporting actors definitely steal the show from her though; we have Samuel L Jackson (with hair!) as the PI Mitch Hennessy in one of his most entertaining roles ever. If you’re not a fan of Samuel L already then this film will make you one (and if it doesn’t, his fans will use voodoo to convert you). Not to be outdone is Brian Cox who appears in about four scenes and is still pretty damn awesome. We also have Yvonne Zima as Caitlyn, up against a lot of difficulties that child actors her age always faced (like trying to deliver lines convincingly) but she falls into place with the rest of the actors and does a nice job.
Sorry if this is going to sound too much like yesterday’s review, but the writing is top notch and almost Tarantino-esque – yes I went there. Most of the characters have their own fair share of awesome one-liners so I’m going to give you a short list of some of the gems we get in the film.
*Mr Waldman: “Your dog has been licking his ass hole for three straight hours. I submit to you that there is nothing there worth more than an hour’s attention. I think that whatever he’s trying to dislodge is either gone for good or there to stay. Wouldn’t you agree?”
*Mitch: “How did you find us?”
Waldman: “There may be many reasons not to kill you, but one of them is not that you’ll be missed by NASA. I found this address in your coat. Between the address of a topless bar and the picture of what looks like a man’s penis”
Mitch: “That’s a duck, not a dick”
*Charly: “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
Mitch: “I hope not because I’m thinking about how much my balls hurt”
I won’t give too much away because the dialogue and one-liners in the film definitely have to be experienced firsthand. And apparently, this script was the first to be sold for $3 million. Go figure.
And the other big draw for this film is the action; the action scenes in this are ridiculous. And they know it. The action scenes just serve to be some kind of ironic pastiche that gives a big middle finger to physics (not as big as 2012 though, there’s still the illusion of realism) and keeps us from getting more nachos (or celery sticks for you health nuts). Highlights include Samantha chasing two cars using a short cut involving a frozen pond and a pair of ice skates, Samantha throwing her daughter through a hole in the house into her tree house, Mitch and Samantha jumping out of a window to escape a grenade and shooting the ice to break their fall and of course Samantha using Christmas lights on a bridge and a burning dead guy as a makeshift zip line. It’s gonna be hard to list my favourite scenes and not spoil the film for first timers. But a friendly tip when watching this movie – don’t be a nerd, leave what you know about physics in the other room and get a nice bowl of popcorn because that’s what you’re going to get from this movie.
I mentioned earlier about Geena Davis’s performance and that is really the only gripe I have with this film; and even she was still pretty fun to watch. Of course the unnecessary makeover she gave herself when changing from Samantha to her Charly alter ego was...well unnecessary. Women over 30 should not layer the makeup on and give themselves bleached blonde bobs. But she’s back to her nice long hair in the end though. Then there’s the Timothy character who is the big bad of the piece. He’s written a little too corny, almost like a pantomime villain. He’s funny as hell but he’s just unable to take seriously because of some of his more ridiculous lines and scenes. He does get a pretty cool death scene however.
So that’s another film down and this marks 15 days I’ve been doing this challenge. The days honestly don’t drag out at all and it’s nice to know what film I’m going to watch in the evening. Believe me I’ve had times when I’ve put popcorn on and just stood blankly in front of my DVD shelves trying to justify making the popcorn. And even then I usually stop the film after my food runs out. But enough about my nights in, I’ll bid you a long kiss goodnight and see you again tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter.