The VHS Files: John Irvin’s Freefall

Today on the VHS Files is a super sexy Cliffhanger knockoff called Freefall starring an impossibly sweaty Eric Roberts, a super smarmy Jeff Fahey and a very foxy Pamela Gidley, who actually passed away last year and many of us fondly remember as Teresa Banks from Twin Peaks. This is actually a really solid action flick set in an exotic location and featuring these three B icons at the peak of their physical attractiveness. Pam plays wildlife photographer Katy, sent by her boss and fiancé Dex (Jeff) to get pictures of a rare bird of prey somewhere in deepest Africa. There she meets Eric’s Grant Orion, a daredevil adrenaline junkie who parachutes off waterfalls when he’s not sipping brandy on the hotel veranda, and she falls for him hard, hard enough for us to get to see them bang way up atop a waterfall with a gorgeous view. The plot goes bananas when it’s revealed that Grant is some sort of disgraced former Hollywood stuntman turned double agent for Interpol, all kinds of baddies are introduced including a freaky ass albino assassin and Dex himself who turns out it to not be the perfect fiancé she thought, and a globetrotting cat and mouse game gets underway. Roberts is terrific here, all lithe physicality and southern charm, Fahey himself tries an odd southern accent and comes across as a bit hammy but such is the arena here anyways, while Gidley fills out the action heroine role nicely. The film is directed by a dude named John Irvin who also did stuff like the Patrick Swayze western Next Of Kin, the rough crime pic City Of Industry, the cult Chris Walken curio Dogs Of War, the war film Hamburger Hill and the Schwarzenegger flick Raw Deal so he just knows his way around a good solid action sequence and how to handle tough guy actors. This is good fun with gorgeous locations, three knowingly arch lead performances and a relaxed vibe.

-Nate Hill


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