FILM new releases
(12) 114 mins it w t
Hollywood has never been shy of spotting an embryonic trend and enthusiastically flogging it to death. The current favourite is 605 television espionage series, so it is no surprise to see a big screen version of The Saint snapping at the highly successful heels of Mission: Impossible.
Acknowledging the post-Cold War era, Phillip Noyce's surprisingly playful film sets up a nationalistic Russian politician as the baddie. Simon Templar (Val Kilmer), a top- draw international thief in the 905 version, is hired by Tretiak (Rade Serbedzija) to steal the formula for cold fusion from Elisabeth Shue's improbably youthful Oxford scientist. He aims to present it to a nation in the grip of a fuel shortage, and ride to power on a wave of popular support. Fortunately, a previous brush with the leader and his sadistic son - and that old standby, love — change Templar‘s mind about the job.
As a hero, Kilmer can cut rather a smug figure, so a dose of existential angst a la Batman and a tendency to operate in a variety of silly disguises for most of the movie keep both him and us amused. In fact, the false wigs, moustaches and accents set the film apart from other spy pictures, with Kilmer glorying in his new- found role as the Robin Williams of the thriller set — although his effete German is a bit much.
The action sequences are handled well by Noyce - it's pleasing to see a film character actually suffering from the after-effects of being submerged in freezing water — even if they lack the visceral impact of Brian De Palma’s
I just called to say halo: Val Kilmer in The Saint
efforts in Mission: Impossible. Serbedzija, so good in Before The Rain a couple of years ago, adds cunning to the megalomania of Tretiak, but Shue, although watchable, is onto a loser with one of those characters that only ever exist in the heads of studio executives. (Simon Wardell)
r11 General release from Fri 78 Apr.
Face to face negotiations: Carmen Ejogo and Eddie Murphy in Metro
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suspense movre is not in itself a bad thing, but few pick their genre conventions wrth quite the cool- headed cynicism of Randy Feldman’s script — his third to reach the screen after Tango & Cash and Nowhere To Run.
if those films are in your All Time Top Ten, then don’t bother reading on, for Metro Will undoubtedly be your cup of tea. However, from the revenge scenario, to the rookie partner, to the girlfriend in peril, to using San Francisco as that most familiar of movre locations, this film has nothing to offer that we haven’t seen before
Murphy plays Scott Roper, a fast- talking hostage negotiator who is saddled V‘lllli an ex-SWAT team partner after his buddy and fellow cop is killed by psychotic jC‘HOl thief Korda (Michael \N’inc‘otti Along the way to a routine-h; predictable ending we meet Scott's ex-ciirlfriend Ronnie «(British actress Carmen Eiogol and Witness some by-the-book lierOics from Murphy, as well as ~ perhaps - a line or two to raise a chuckle But even if he can, at a push, make his audience smile, this is still a backward step for Murphy It's not a patch on his first Beverly Hills Cop outing and simply no
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i 7h“ "3 General release from Fri 78 Apr See
The Funeral (18) 99 mins * he
A smattering of vintage cars and the cut of the suits mark out Abel Ferrara’s slant on the 19305 gangster flick, but this slightly shambling, doom-laden exercise in violent psychosis is far removed from the refined world of The Godfather.
At the age of 22, Vincent Gallo is the latest fatality of the Tempio family operation, and as older brothers Christopher Walken and Chris Penn gather at the lormer’s modest home in leafy middle-class suburbia, their sense of loss breeds simmering anger directed at the rival (Benicio De Toro) suspected of the drive-by shooting. Ferrara’s regular screenwriter Nicholas St John then proceeds to trace the Tempios’ troubled past while charting the progress of their revenge.
On this occasion, it looks like obvious stringencies on the budget prevented the film from movrng as smoothly as it might have. The editing seems to jar, the camerawork is murkier than it ought to be, and technical roughness is exacerbated by the episodic nature of the writing. Objectively, you'd have to say that it didn’t add up. But if you want measured neutrality, what are. you doing even watching an Abel Ferrara mowe? It's their Iooseness that gives lll‘; films their particular cachet, a sort of what—the-fuckness that COUHICnaliCGS the hazy allure of sexual transgression and snowballing Violence, then- caps it off wrth a potent sense of looming mortality
Here the Visceral blood-letting and the threat of more to come make the initial impression -- one classic moment where Walken calmly enters stage left With an axe you won't forget — but Ferrara allows a fine cast the room to underline the Spiritual toll to be paid for it all. Walken gives an airin haunted performance and Penn is men by inner demons barely under control; but it's their wrves, Annabella 80mm and Isabella Rossellini, all long-suffering looks and pragmatic pessimism, who tell the real story. A pity about the too- abrupt ending, otherwise there's plenty here to infuriate and enthral in almost equal measure. (Trevor Johnston)
I Edinburgh Odeon from Fri 78 Apr
r?" Grave undertaking: Christopher Walken in The Funeral
' 5 STAR RATINGS
i t t t t * Outstanding ' i * tr * t Recommended i t i * Worth a try , i k t 50-50 5 4» POOr