Friday, 22 January 2016

Hard Rain (1998)




The 90's, the era of many pointless, tacky and stupid action flicks. I submit to you exhibit A, firstly, bloody stupid title, I mean what the hell is that supposed to mean? hard rain. What is the rain so heavy and hard that is both soaks and hurts you? Is the rain really tough and well 'ard that is comes down wearing a Burberry tracksuit and pinches your mobile phone?? Anyway so the hook of this run of the mill action heist was the fact its set within a major storm and flooding, Die Hard in soaking wet clothes or Die Hard with pneumonia...see, I can think of cool film titles too.

So Christian (I was once a famous action star briefly in the 90's) Slater and his elderly partner are security guards making pick-ups during a serious storm in a small town. The town is slowly flooding which cause are duo to get stuck in a large deep area of water. They believe they are stranded but low and behold some blokes come along to help them, spoiler alert, these guys are baddies. So these baddies are obviously after the loot but after the accidental killing of Slater's elderly partner a long wet chase ensues as Slater runs off with the loot and hides it. He now finds himself very wet, with baddies after him and the small ton police also sniffing around, but are they goodies or baddies? Oh the intrigue.

So first off I gotta ask, why the fuck does Slater run off with the money?? The bad guys offered him a chance to walk away from the truck and just leave the money, that's all they wanted, they weren't interested in him. But no he has to run off with the money and then gets all stressed out when the bad guys start hunting him down, pfft! they gave you a chance Slater! OK so the bad guys, they are led by...Morgan Freeman? wait Morgan Freeman is the main bad guy?! well that's one for the books isn't it, don't see that happening very often. But yeah these bad guys aren't very intimidating frankly, Freeman tries to be ruthless but he just can't pull it off, he's just too nice. There's the token black guy who seems to be the edgy one but never really does anything accept spout bible verses for some reason. There's a guy with glasses on who I think is supposed to be an ex-teacher? anyway again he does nothing of note. Finally there is the token young dude with long hair, the unpredictable one who is obviously gonna fuck things up for the others, and low and behold....All together this small team of robbers are weak and completely ineffective within the movie, you aren't scared by them and you never really feel like they are actually gonna accomplish anything. Oh and the token black guy doesn't die first here amazingly.

On the other hand the small trio of cops that are supposedly helping Slater's character are well cast. Randy Quaid plays the sheriff who comes across as a solid leader, only to quickly switch into a cold killer as they close in on the money. You can tell Quaid's character can't be trusted which adds to the suspense, plus I enjoyed his amusing expressions of frustration as his third officer starts to waver under the pressure of killing innocent people. Its like, oh for God's sake, stop being such a do-gooder and think of the money. Together with Mark Rolston as his slimy second in command, the duo make a pretty good pair of unhinged crooked cops, unfortunately we don't really see enough of the pair being evil.

Slater of course plays the all round heroic boyscout type, boring, predictably perfect in every way and invincible. He is helped by love interest Minnie Driver who makes stained glass windows or something? I dunno, just your typical female sidekick that generally needs rescuing after being taken hostage. Remember when I said Freeman was the main bad guy, well that doesn't last forever because no sooner have the cops revealed themselves to be crooked, Slater must join forces with old Morgan. So there you go folks, even when Freeman is officially the bad guy in a movie, he still turns out to be good, in this case...a good old boy type.

Overall the movie looks pretty good, good lighting, nice camera work, there is clearly a tonne of flooded sets being used with lots of stunts involving small motorboats, jet skis and electrics reacting with water type situations. There are some pretty terrible bluescreen shots of Freeman, Quaid and Slater speeding along in boats, lots of wet gunplay, lots of daft dialog, someone naturally gets fried alive in the water when electric cables short out into it, and umm...lots of water sequences, lots of H2O going everywhere. I should also point out that the musical score seems very similar to 'Aliens' in my opinion, almost beat for beat in some sequences, odd. As I already said you can kinda tell that Quaid's character is up to something mainly because Quaid is playing the character, but you're never sure how far the twists will go, or how many there will be, or who may or may not pop back up at any given moment. These loose action flicks tended to throw all sorts of things at you, anyone could come back when you least expect it and it didn't have to make sense. Honesty there isn't much good out and out action but attractive visuals at least make things nice to look at.

This movie was a big flop when it was released and its not hard to see why truth be told. Its really a very aimless and pointless heist flick which isn't really very exciting. Yes there are quite few twists which admittedly do keep you somewhat engaged but really this is a whole lot of hokey wet nothing. Its also hard to imagine how something like this actually got a cinematic release (which I actually saw in the cinema I might add).

4.5/10