The Saint (12)

Directed by Philip Noyce
Starring Val Kilmer, Elizabeth Shue

First of all, forget those memories of the 70s TV series. This film might share the lead character, but has nothing in common at all. It is similar to the Mission Impossible film of last year in that it is a tv series transformed into a 90s action thriller, but I enjoyed this more than Mission Impossible. But don't get me wrong, this is no classic, it is merely a formulaic action movie with its share of ridiculous touches, and implausible characters.
The film starts ludicrously with the young Simon Templar being bullied in a Catholic boarding school by nasty monks and priests.(Why are there nuns and girls there?) Young Simon's sweetheart dies in a balcony fall and he becomes the man of mystery. This opening is awful! Completely unbelievable and frankly dumb. Noyce's attempt to explain The Saint should have been axed. However, the film soon picks up as we follow The Saint through a few robberies and disguises.
The main plot involves a corrupt Russian politician, a beautiful, brilliant American physicist(Shue) and cold fusion- a way of producing cheap and unlimited energy. Kilmer dons many more disguises, falls for Shue(surprise surprise!) and gets chased around Russian sewers a lot. It is harmless enough fun, and the pace is nice and brisk. Kilmer is pretty goood with those disguises, and looks as though he is having more fun here than in the last Batman movie. Shue isn't that convincing as a star scientist, but is an attractive enough character. The baddies are one of the weaknesses. Stereotyped meglomaniac and dumb son sidekick who gets to be mean and nasty.
Not a film that will go down as a classic, but in these mediocre days if it keeps you awake and paying attention, it'll do. Passably entertaining. 6/10.

April 1997

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