Directed by: Ridley Scott
This has been a film I've been wanting to watch for a very long time. It's a film that nobody ever talks about in director Ridley Scott's long career, but considering how much he kicked our ass with another thriller, the Michael Douglas starring Black Rain 2 years later, I figured this was definitely worth a shot. So how was it?
Well, it's just okay. Honestly, with the exception of a few really badass signature Scott shots, you'd never know that he directed this, unlike his next film, Black Rain, which was just saturated with Scott's signature visuals and camera work. Here, and I hate to use this term, I felt he was phoning it in. But you know what? Ridley Scott phoning it in is still so much better than your average director trying to deliver the goods. The thing is though that it's a "Ridley Scott Film", so you kind of expect some greatness, especially taking into account the 3 amazing films he had made prior to this. But as with most filmmakers, his films have been hit or miss.
This is the first film he made after 3 big budget spectacles in a row, with the last 2 (Blade Runner & Legend) kind of bombing at the box office. Sure, we love them now, but they weren't hits initially. Blade Runner in particular was a certified disaster when released theatrically. But we all know that story. But I think he was needing to get back to some simple filmmaking. Something easy to make that didn't involve thousands of effects and years to make. And with this, it's about as simple and generic as can be. A happily married guy who's just made detective is assigned to protect a mob witness who's just about to point the finger at a murderer and who can't help their physical attraction to one another, yadda, yadda, yadda......
Tom Beringer does a fine job as the newly mounted detective, as does all of the cast. Though I'll just never ever get used to Lorraine Bracco, as his faithful wife. Aaaahh, it's her voice and the way she speaks. It's like a knife in my brain. I just can't stand that voice. There's also a lot of fun character actors in here that you've surely seen in plenty of films from time to time. It's always fun to find an old film and see them when they're young.
As I was saying before, I've always wanted to see this, but for some reason never found it easy to get my hands on a copy. I think it was mostly due to it being unavailable through Netflix for a really long time. But it's always been in the back of my mind. Well I just decided to give it another shot and wouldn't you know it, it's available again. It's funny, right from the opening shot, you know it's a Ridley Scott film, but once that excitement fades you're kind of left with a standard "cop protecting a witness who falls in love" thriller with nothing really to differentiate it from any other film of this kind, which is really sad to have to say. I recall a good handful of really nice "Ridley Scott visual shots" that reminded me that I was indeed watching a Ridley Scott film, but for the most part you'd never know it because nothing about this film stands out. But at the same time I can understand his desire to make something fast and simple and this certainly fits the bill. Did I enjoy it? Yes, because I still enjoy these types of films and though it was lacking a lot of signature Ridley Scott flourishes for me, it's a decent and solid thriller. But hey, I like to think of it as Scott having an opportunity to get his feet wet in the genre before moving on to another thriller 2 years later with the insanely awesome and a personal favorite of mine, Black Rain.
For an idea of what to expect, check out this trailer below: