Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Daylight (1996) Review:

Director Rob Cohen is considered by most critics to produce average to slightly above average films. Majority of these opinions are based on who's starring in them. The Fast and the Furious (2001), xXx (2002) & The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008) all were popular at the box office at the time because of who the main lead was. This is no different here. It's no surprise that because Stallone is the main lead that many people decided to go see this movie at the time. In this "disaster" genre film, Sylvester Stallone plays an ordinary man, Kit Latura, who looks straight into the face of death in order to save some survivors when an explosion goes off in an underwater highway tunnel and ends up having both ends sealed off with no escape.

Stallone as the lead with his community of survivors
Along with Stallone are a few other well-known actors like Chief Frank Kraft (Dan Hedaya) and wealthy businessman Roy Nord (Viggo Mortensen). Even Stallone's son, Sage, plays a smaller role as a convict. Do any of these characters stand out - no not much. If there's any character to really root for, it would be Mortensen's character. Mortensen gave his character a charm none of the others seemed to know how to make. Perhaps because Mortensen just looked at the situation in a whole different way. Compare that to Stallone's performance and it seems like Mortensen should have been the main lead.

But if there's one thing that this movie got right, it was the tension. Holy cow was this movie packed with tension! There was not one moment where it felt that no one would make it out. Quite honestly, I don't blame the actors for half their reactions to this situation. If any of us viewers were in their shoes, the majority of us would be freaking out too. It really does feel like a lose-lose situation. Unfortunately, this is another reason why it doesn't entertain as good as it should though. The atmosphere was way too depressing. Not one character (except Viggo Mortensen's character) had one shred of a positive outlook. Not even Stallone's character had one, which kind of shocked me.

I'm not sure if Stallone's character was written like that, to make him seem more human but you can still make a character human even if he faces adversity with a confident outlook. But that wasn't visible here. But I assume this is due to the screenwriter, Leslie Bohem, whom according to her pre-writings and post work display that her writing capabilities really need to be assessed more. On the side, Randy Edelman's score to the film was proficient in its work like most of his other productions. What amazed me though is that I enjoyed the music but I also didn't appreciate of how it didn't pick up in tone. It consistently felt depressing. I think Edelman put in a little too much emotion this time (even if it was effective).

Viggo Mortensen as the Roy Nord
Finally, the special effects and set designs were probably the most astounding because of how real the situation felt and looked. The scene I was the most nervous about was when Stallone was going through a timed sequence of fan about gut wrenching. But hey, according to Stallone, that's why he took on this project because he wanted to concur his fear of close quarters. Good for him, I'll assume many of us regular people and including myself would not be so eager to go jumping into such problems.

As a whole, it works at increasing the tension to a high level along with effective music but sadly it also encourages the characters to be depressing and unlikable. It's close to start being a disaster.

Points Earned --> 6:10

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