Friday, May 22, 2009

Under the Radar

I love a good high-concept, and more than that, I love a good high-concept that's actually executed well. Believe it or not, that's the case with 1998's HARD RAIN, a movie about an armored car driver's efforts to keep 3 million dollars out of the hands of a gang of thieves and a corrupt sheriff. Oh yeah, and this all takes place during a massive flood.

HARD RAIN stars Christian Slater as the armored car driver, Morgan Freeman as the leader of the thieves, and Randy Quaid as the corrupt sheriff. The movie didn't win any awards, and it ranks a measely 23% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, but I just love it.

Yes, it involves some suspension of disbelief (most high-concept movies do). But if you can just go along for the ride, it's a really fun, exciting movie. The sheer spectacle of the flooded town is impressive, and so are the numerous escape-from-certain-death scenes involving Christian Slater's resourceful armored car driver.

In addition to the running and jumping (and swimming!) and shooting, there's a nice wit to the movie. Some of the one-liners are genuinely funny, and all of the characters (even the bad guys) have more depth and quirks than you'd expect to find in a movie like this.

I think most of the credit goes to screenwriter Graham Yost, who was one of the writers of HBO's BAND OF BROTHERS, as well as creator of the TV series BOOMTOWN and RAINES, and the screenwriter of the movies SPEED, BROKEN ARROW, and THE LAST CASTLE. He's also the showrunner of FIRE IN THE HOLE, a new TNT series about a US Marshal, based on an Elmore Leonard short story. It sounds great. I'll look at anything Yost does.

If you're looking for a fun diversion with some wit and great set pieces, check out HARD RAIN.

3 comments:

Nick Marino said...

thx for the tip, Jay. i'm definitely going to check this out now.

BrikHed said...

it was a surprisingly good flic from what i remember

trialsze said...

I would agree. I love this movie and it is way under rated.