STOPPING for ERIC RED by KENT HILL

With pages that zoom ahead at the pace of a well-crafted screenplay; the further I was pulled along by what seemed like a rope around the neck, deeper into Eric Red’s (Body Parts, Bad Moon) latest action spectacle-in-print, I found myself thinking of that old story of a script called Simon Says. Of course, by the time Simon came to a theater near you…the title of the picture had changed to Die Hard: With a Vengeance.

If you carry on and research that story…you’ll stumble across another little tale about another spec script titled: Troubleshooter. This also would eventually find its way before eager, action-seeking audiences. Though, they weren’t so eager when they came out of Speed 2: Cruise Control.

But let us not dwell on the frailties of ego and hubris, I’m here because, although I haven’t podcasted them softly from a distance in some time, all-of-sudden, there came the opportunity to have a powwow with a filmmaker/novelist whose work I’ve long admired. It sounded like a hot ticket. And I was flattered beyond belief when, being accustomed to the ever-convenient PDF, I not only received a copy of STOPPING POWER, but two other of Eric’s newest efforts, including one headed for our screens in the form of WHITE KNUCKLE.

 So now, as my veracity may be in question, you’re wondering why I would begin writing about Mr. Red’s new book talking about how someone else’s idea was transformed into franchise fodder? The answer isn’t simple. It’s kinda just where my head went to as the story unfolded. I kept thinking, “If Eric Red wasn’t ERIC RED…they would totally reconfigure this into like a Speed 3.” And as Stephanie Power’s problems start to look like the tidal waves the James Cameron’s NTI’s were going to use to wash the pestilence that is humanity from the face of the Earth in his ABYSS, my head kept spinning like the wheels of so many vehicles in, HANDS DOWN, the best car chases I’ve thus encountered on the printed page.

STOPPING POWER will make an equally incredible film. And should WHITE KNUCKLE’s transition prove successful, I dare say, then it shall not be long before this mother/daughter/action/heist/thriller; with an ensemble of such surprising, terrifyingly and delightfully depraved villains that play cat and mouse and Russian Roulette with the lives Stephanie Power and her daughter. There’s 60 million dollars in bearer bonds as well as every cop in Texas on the hunt for this woman who is Power by name, but powerful by nature. I’ve already spoke on the blinding action that awaits you here, but the character work is not to be underestimated. Mr. Red, you can tell is a screenwriter as the pages decline. He knows that if you don’t give a damn about the people in peril…then he’s gonna lose you.

Lucky for you, dear reader, there are enough twists and turns and further secrets unearthed as the story snakes around the highways like the frantic mother behind the wheel, a puppet being pulled by evil strings as her daughter sits at the end of the barrel of a loaded, automatic weapon. She’s a bomb on the bus, only the bus is an RV. There’s a shitty ex-Husband, there’s an unlikely hero. There are moments that’ll you wish were up there on a screen in front of you as the roads are lashed with Mad Max fury; all culminating in a climax that’s as good as they come. Heck, if the whole thing was set around Christmas time…it could also work as a Die Hard movie too, I guess.

Point is STOPPING POWER works! It works damn well. And if you’re not completely satisfied with some really tight storytelling, involving and emotion human components, all dressed to the nines with scintillating mechanical carnage, explosions…all part of your complete breakfast really.

I really loved this book, and as I mentioned earlier, a chat with Mr. Red was on the cards. So, here it is. He’s taken the time out from his busy schedule to field a fistful of questions from yours truly. Ladies and Gentlemen…Eric Red

Eric Red

KH: So, Mr. Red, like WHITE KNUCKLE, I believe it won’t be long before we’ll be hearing that STOPPING POWER is headed for the Big Silver. I see it clearly as SPEED meets DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE; what was the genesis of the story?

ER: One day was watching a TV news report showing a high-speed chase of a bank robbery suspect on an L.A. freeway with all the news helicopters filming it. Wondered what would happen if the bank robber switched their getaway car with someone else’s car and used them as a decoy. They might get away with it. Everybody would be watching the other car. But how would you make another driver drive the getaway car? Then I thought what if the escaping bank robber carjacked a parent and child, kidnapped the kid, switched cars and blackmailed the parent into doing the driving the bank robber’s car as a decoy leading the police in the wrong direction. It would be a perfect crime, a clean getaway. That was the seed of the story.

The characters of the mother, daughter and kidnapper sprang from the idea. Here’s this mother suddenly in this extraordinary situation where everybody thinks she’s a bank robber and nobody believes her daughter has been kidnapped. It’s up to her not only to elude a citywide police dragnet but also somehow catch up to the kidnapper and get her daughter back. And the kidnapper is watching the high-speed chase on the TV news and has eyes on her every minute. She is all alone. Out of this impossible situation, the ultimate predicament for a mother, the fun for us is how she figures it out. Because of course she will.

In a book, it seemed like the kind of thing people would believe could really happen and happen to anyone. In thriller terms it was preposterous yet plausible. My favorite suspense stories are the kind of in-the-wrong place-at-the-wrong time situations that could happen to regular people like us. I love Alfred Hitchcock and this appealed to me as a classic Hitchcock mistaken identity set up where an innocent individual is framed for a crime he didn’t commit, as if Alfred Hitchcock had done a car chase thriller.

KH: When you sit down to write is it a book idea, a script idea, or simply…I have to get this story out?

ER: Some ideas I have are for novels and others for scripts. I often get an idea for a screenplay and sit down and write it in two weeks. Novels involve much more material on every level, and on those will usually make notes for months or even years until I have enough notes that the book is ready to write. Author Tom McGuane phrased that stage perfectly calling it “building up the cabin pressure.” In the end, the ones that get written are the ideas I can’t stop thinking about, for purely subjective reasons.

KH: Having recently seen and enjoyed The Last Duel, appreciating the Rashomon quality, what made you choose the shifting POV from first person to third person storytelling…or did the story dictate that

ER: Maximizing reader identification with the characters meant telling the story from multiple voices. The novel has two first person narratives with the mother Stephanie and her kidnapped daughter Libby, so we see the same events from their contrasting different perspectives, giving us the whole picture. First person gets the reader right inside the character’s heads. We needed to be outside of the villainess Ilsa, so I wrote her third person so we never truly know what she’s thinking, keeping her unpredictable because we never know what she’ll do next. What I love about Rashomon is the truth is the whole of the sum of the parts of all of the characters’ perspectives!

KH: You’ve spoken in other interviews about liking in movies “what you don’t see.” Can a writer get away with that when writing novels, or is that best left to the screenplay?

ER: “Keeping it off-screen” is a storytelling technique that works equally well in films and books. In a movie we would describe that as “not how you show it but how you don’t show it” or in a novel we might say something is described “between the lines,” but either way it means handling a scene in such a way that people fill in the blanks. Then they use their imagination picturing things you just suggest instead of explicitly showing or describing graphically. There’s a place for both.

KH: Christopher Isherwood was quoted as saying writing for Hollywood made him a better novelist in the sense that it showed him greater economy of language; do you feel the same?

ER: Yes, writing screenplays you cut everything out that doesn’t move the story forwards. You “load” words because you use as few as possible. It’s a strong background to have as a novelist because for screenwriters “when in doubt, cut it out.” Also, scriptwriters are story wonks and we bring that narrative skill-set to novels. When we write them. Most screenwriters can’t write a novel even though they try, or write just one. I’ve written eleven. And honestly many novelists can’t write a script to save their life. Screenplays and books are very different animals.

For instance, in a novel you have many more tools in your storytelling toolbox. In a script, you have just action and dialogue. You have those in a novel, too, but also first second and third person narratives, different voices, and much more ordinance to weaponize your prose. The thing I love about doing both is that when a script is made into a movie, we give you the pictures so everyone sees the same film, but in a novel, we bring their own pictures to the prose, based on our mental images and memories, so it’s more personal.

KH: I love the tension in the early scenes with Ilsa and Libby, before their dialogue kicks in later. It was for me, reminiscent of what you did in the scenes involving Michael Pare and the dog in Bad Moon.

ER: There’s a lot of stare-downs, that’s for sure! At first, Ilsa and Libby deal with each another in a silent primal animal level, sniffing each other out. Not unlike Pare and Thor in Bad Moon, as you say.

KH: Stephanie’s thought as she makes a dynamic and daring rooftop evasion from the police is that “it’s like being in a car commercial from Hell.” Does the Fury Road adrenaline you capture come from the novelistic glee that says, “Gee, I’m glad I don’t have to do this on a budget with a schedule?”

ER: Sure, writing a novel obviously the only limits are the limits of one’s imagination. The only thing to worry about is fully imagining the scene in enough detail so it’s believable. But the rooftop car chase certainly could be viably filmed with first-class precision vehicular stunt driving and standard mechanical special effects.

KH: Dan Crockett turned out to have more moxy than I gave in through the early stages. You pay off characters well, and as much as this is a book about “hot minutes” and high-octane mechanical carnage; what makes it all work is the people?

ER: It’s always all about the people. Action or suspense scenes are empty exercises in mechanics unless you care about the characters involved, even the bad guys. It’s not about sympathetic characters—we become involved with flawed characters we don’t morally approve of all the time in what we read and watch—audience and reader involvement is the apt phrase. I’d say it’s an even split with the mother and kidnapper in STOPPING POWER as far as who interests us the most. Stephanie is a mother tiger protecting her cub, hard not to root for. We don’t root for Ilsa, quite the opposite, but we do get to understand the kidnapper and become involved with her. Many readers tell me she is the most interesting character in the book. We all know villains are often the most compelling characters, like in Shakespeare. Lots of reasons for that.

A big part of the drama in Stopping Power deals with the Stockholm syndrome dynamics of the kidnapper Ilsa and her teenage captive Libby. Each needs to keep the other talking for survival reasons, forcing this unlikely pair to engage and form an unusual if not friendly bond. Ilsa, a completely emotionally detached human being, finds herself experiencing younger sister feelings for the teenage girl, and because Ilsa has no experience with feelings she becomes unstable, which could have consequences for both her and Libby. It’s an instance in the book where the drama between the characters ups the jeopardy. Those are some of my favorite chapters in the novel.

KH: In light of the recent tragedy on the set of RUST, it made Stephanie’s backstory, primarily her relationship with her father extremely poignant?

ER: Sam Power took reckless safety risks as a stuntman like his generation of stunt people did making movies during those days, but Stephanie’s dad was a seasoned professional and the only lives he risked were his own and unfortunately hers that one time. Ironically, if her father Sam had not taken those risks with Stephanie teaching her how to stunt drive, she would not have survived the ordeal in the novel when Ilsa puts her to the test.

KH: $64,000 question. Did Jack Stevens crap his pants when the boys from SWAT came calling. I only ask ’cause the Sheriff said things got messy?

ER: Let’s say it’s an example of “between-the-lines!”

About The Author: Eric Red is a Los Angeles-based novelist, screenwriter, and film director. His films include The Hitcher, Near Dark, Cohen and Tate, Body Parts, Bad Moon, 100 Feet and The Last Outlaw. He has written nine novels, including Don’t Stand So Close, It Waits Below, White Knuckle, The Guns of Santa Sangre, The Wolves of El Diablo, Noose, Hanging Fire and Branded. Red divides his time between California and Wyoming with his wife and two dogs. Find out more about Eric Red and his books and films on his official website EricRed.com, on Facebook at OfficialEricRed, and on Twitter @ericred.

There isn’t another novel this year that cuts as quickly to the chase as Stopping Power. Eric Red’s new thriller is tense, tough and tenacious. Once the story evolves from its simple but highly effective premise there’s no exit for the reader: a psychologically clever described mother-and-daughter relationship and a vicious villainess sure make for a hell of a ride – a purist genre narration encased in a very contemporary almost all-female action firework.

  • Marco Siedelmann, Publisher and Editor, Seidelman & Company.

PROPHECIES FULFILLED BY KENT HILL

мой приятель суперзвезда Alex Nevsky is back, and not even the might of a global pandemic can stand in the way of this Russian colossus as he delivers to you, dear readers, a tantalizing teaser of his next major motion picture, RED PROPHECIES.

An American journalist works in Moscow and finds himself embroiled in dangerous political games, the purpose of which is to destabilize the situation in Russia and then interfere with the holdings of the Presidential elections in the United Stares. The journalist begins his own investigation in order to uncover who is behind the operation “Red Prophecies” – special services, financial tycoons or international terrorists?

As ever Nevsky has brought his brought his awesome friends along for the ride with this stellar cast that includes Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers), Eric Roberts (Dark Knight), Michael Madsen (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Oded Fehr (The Mummy), and Stephen Baldwin (The Usual Suspects).

Always ready for a showdown which is set to provide cinema-loving audiences the world over with the maximum entertainment impact of a freight train out of control, Alex is a vital force, a proud powerhouse, and a good mate. I for one can’t wait for his new movie RED PROPHECIES to mark the triumphant return of the Russian Hulk to big screens across the globe.

молодец мой друг

THE LAST BOY SCOUT – A REVIEW BY J.D. LAFRANCE

3BRLjwxF2rmVFedrQkjNdPcd8UwShane Black’s career has had a fascinating, meteoric rise and fall (and rise again). The screenwriter hit the big time when his breakthrough screenplay for Lethal Weapon (1987) sold for $250,000. This kick-started a wildly popular action film franchise. He soon hit rock bottom with the heavily re-written (by others) modest hit, The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996), the script of his that sold for a staggering $4 million. And yet, even his weaker efforts still contain decent action sequences and playful banter between characters. What seemed to be missing in Black’s later films was depth and characterization – elements that made his screenplays distinctive. Perhaps this was as a result of meddling and script revisions at the hands of others. For Black, screenwriting came easy: “The fact that there were so few rules associated with it, so few actual structural maxims … you can just do what you want. So I played around and it was fun. I would just type to keep myself entertained. It turned out people liked that. They felt it represented an interesting way to go, but for me it was truly just typing to keep myself entertained.”

Studio executives were only interested in using Black to write formulaic drivel. Determined to make it, he wrote Lethal Weapon. The script was a blast of fresh air and ended up being made into a big budget action film starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. This kind of thing almost never happens in Hollywood and it’s a testimony to Black’s skill as a screenwriter that he achieved this kind of success so early on in his career. Lethal Weapon grossed over a $100 million. In the best tradition of Hollywood, money talks and so in 1990, Black was paid $1.75 million (an unheard of amount at the time) for The Last Boy Scout script. The next year it was made into a 1991 action movie starring Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans and directed by the late Tony Scott.

The film starts off literally with a bang as a pro-football player (a pre-infomerical Billy Blanks) pulls out a handgun right in the middle of a play and shoots three opposing players in his way to getting a touchdown before killing himself. Joe Hallenbeck (Bruce Willis) is a private detective hired by his best friend (Bruce McGill) to protect a stripper named Cory (Halle Berry in an early role). The best friend is subsequently blown up in a car and the stripper gunned down by thugs. Her washed-up, football-playing boyfriend Jimmy (Damon Wayans) hooks up with Joe to get some answers and some much needed payback.

“I had this period where I didn’t think I was any good at anything and fought desperately to stay afloat,” Black said in an interview with Creative Screenwriting magazine. And with that feeling in mind, Black wrote a movie that pushes the world-weary detective stereotype to then new, surreal levels. Willis’ performance and Black’s screenplay combine to produce a portrait of a guy who is so down and out that our first glimpse is a shot of him passed out in his own car while being harassed by snotty neighborhood kids with a dead squirrel. When we meet Joe he has a pretty simple outlook on life – a mantra, if you will, to start each day: “Nobody likes you. Everybody hates you. You’re gonna lose. Smile you fuck.” Willis, who has made a career out of playing world-weary tough guys, nails the defeated vibe that sticks to Joe like stink on dog poop. Joe’s actually a very disillusioned good guy, an ex-Secret Service agent who saved the President’s life once but got fired after he punched out a senator (Chelcie Ross) with a kinky streak. Throughout the movie, Willis delivers deadpanned one-liners while constantly getting the crap kicked out him. As a result, you can’t help but root for him as he and Wayans send the baddies to their well-deserved violent deaths.

Willis plays a classic burn-out, sporting the traditional slovenly appearance of a down-on-his-luck P.I. complete with unshaven look and rumpled clothes that he slept in. And that’s the best he looks, from that point on it’s all downhill as his face takes on cuts and lacerations accrued from fighting numerous bad guys. Joe actually uses his disheveled appearance to his advantage, like when a random baddie takes him into an alleyway to kill him. Joe buys time by cracking jokes about the flunkie’s wife and then, when the guy lets his guard down, stabs him in the throat with a broken bottle. The guy gurgles, “You bastard,” to which Joe curtly replies, “And then some.” Willis was born to spout Black’s dialogue. He’s the master of sarcastic comebacks and gets some real doozies in The Last Boy Scout. At one point, Jimmy chides him, “You read much?” Joe replies, “My subscription to Juggs magazine just ran out.”

Jimmy is also at an emotional cul-de-sac of sorts – popping pills to stave off chronic pain from football injuries he picked up as a player. Like Joe, he’s been disgraced from his former profession, kicked out of the league for gambling. He now spends time feeling sorry for himself by cultivating a drinking problem and nailing anything in a skirt despite having a super-hot stripper girlfriend played by Halle Berry (only in the movies!). Like Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon, Jimmy lost his family to tragedy and it taints his entire worldview. Life means nothing and solving his girlfriend’s murder is the only thing he has left. Wayans shows that he’s more than just a goofy funnyman in a scene where he tells Joe how he got kicked out of football. It is an angry tirade tinged with hurt and bitter resentment as he was basically chewed up and spit out by an uncaring organization. His speech touches upon the harsh realities of professional sports.

Scott populates his movie with a fine collection of character actors, chief among them Noble Willingham as uber rich football team owner Sheldon Marcone and stand-up comedian Taylor Negron cast wonderfully against type as one of Black’s trademark polite, well-spoken sociopaths (see also Lethal Weapon’s Mr. Joshua and The Long Kiss Goodnight’s Timothy). Marcone is also a repeating motif in Black’s scripts. He’s an old, privileged white man who is greedy and corrupt. Think of the money-laundering retired general in Lethal Weapon and the war-mongering CIA boss in The Long Kiss Goodnight. Black clearly sees these men as the source of real evil in the world, pulling the strings that will result in death and destruction in the name of money. In all three films, the protagonists face insurmountable odds to do what is right regardless of the danger or risk to their own well-being.

Like most buddy action movies, the relationship between Joe and Jimmy starts off with plenty of friction as the quarterback resents the private investigator watching over his girlfriend because that’s his job. They trade a few insults and then decide to team up when she’s killed. Black has fun playing around with the dynamic between two guys who basically hate each other but are thrown together due to extraordinary circumstances. At one point, Jimmy cracks a joke to lighten the mood between them only to be rebuffed by Joe. Jimmy tells him, “I’m just trying to break the ice,” to which Joe replies, “I like ice. Leave it the fuck alone.” There are all kinds of snappy banter between them as Wayans tones down his trademark goofy shtick and more or less plays straight man to Willis’ deadpan humor.

Unlike a lot of buddy action movies, Black allows for the occasional lull, like the moment where Jimmy looks at a photograph of him and Cory and you can see on his face how upset he is by her death now that he has a moment to reflect on it. No words are said, Wayans’ face says it all. Joe and Jimmy represent the last bastion of decency in a world that is corrupt and morally bankrupt, where best friends double cross each other, wealthy businessmen are blackmailed, and wives cheat on their husbands. The deeper our two heroes go into investigating Cory’s murder the more corruption they uncover.

The aforementioned alleyway sequence and Cory’s death are vintage Tony Scott moments with his trademark look: smoke, neon and rainy streets at night. Think of it as the director’s version of a neo-noir. He is equally adept at action sequences as he is with showdown set pieces, like the scene where a henchman repeatedly offers Joe a cigarette only to punch it out of his mouth. Joe has been captured and is unarmed and outnumbered but he still has the balls to threaten to kill the guy if he hits him one more time. There is palpable tension as we wait for Joe to follow through on his threat (or be killed), which he does with brutal swiftness. It is reminiscent of the famous showdown between Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper in True Romance (1993) where a tense scene could erupt in violence at any moment.

Successful screenwriter Shane Black made headlines in 1989 when he sold his spec screenplay (written without a contract from a studio or a producer) for The Last Boy Scout to the David Geffen Co. for an unprecedented $1.75 million. He had wisely taken advantage of the boom of independent production companies that sprouted up in the late 1980s looking for big budget action scripts. It must’ve come as validation of his abilities after what he had been through.

After his meteoric rise with the success of the script he had written for Lethal Weapon, a sequel was inevitable. The studio gave Black first crack at it. Something had happened to the writer after enjoying a taste of notoriety and his first draft was even darker than what he had written for the first movie. For starters, he proceeded to kill off Mel Gibson’s character. Not surprisingly, the studio didn’t want to go that route and Black quit the project. Then, he lost the desire to write. A family illness coupled with the break-up of a long-term relationship rocked his already shaky confidence. For the next two years he did no writing and instead lived in fear of the next project and failing. Out of this dark period in his life came the script for The Last Boy Scout, which he wrote in five months.

For the script, Black drew on such influences as hard-boiled crime fiction by the likes of Raymond Chandler and Ross McDonald because they wrote about “personal integrity, morality, conflict, dealing with insanity, dealing with pain and death.” He wanted to write a modern private investigator story set in Los Angeles. He decided to set his story with the sleazy side of professional football as the backdrop because it matched up well with his take on a Chandleresque private investigator story. For Black, football “combines the spirit of the American hero with the spirit of American greed.” After finishing the script, he didn’t think it would sell because “it was weird” and “too rough for most people. It’s not a commercial formula; it’s a very raunchy, down and dirty detective film.”

Originally, director Tony Scott had a war movie taking place in Afghanistan set up as his follow-up to the Tom Cruise racing car movie Days of Thunder (1990). However, the script didn’t come together and he was given The Last Boy Scout. He liked it so much that he agreed to do it. Not much has come out of what went down during filming but what little has suggests a contentious shoot. With titanic egos like producer Joel Silver, movie star Bruce Willis and Tony Scott, they were bound to clash and they did as Scott later admitted, “I got caught a little bit between Bruce and Joel Silver … I was pushed in terms of the cast and in terms of how I was shooting it.” He also felt that Black’s script “was better than the final movie.” Of the experience, all Silver would say was that it was “one of the three worst experiences in my life.”

The Last Boy Scout performed fairly well at the box office and has since enjoyed a second life on video and television (thank you, TBS). Black went on to get paid more than $1 million for his rewrites on The Last Action Hero (1993), a criminally underrated romp that is the granddaddy of self-reflexive action movies. This movie was crucified by critics and did not perform as well at the box office as expected but this did not tarnish Black’s reputation either. However, he disappeared from movies for a few years before coming back with a vengeance with the quirky private detective movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) and Iron Man 3 (2013). The Last Boy Scout is a lean, mean guilty pleasure with a misanthropic streak that is uncompromisingly un-PC in attitude. This is further reinforced by its rather poor view of women. They are either liars and cheats (Joe’s wife), whores (Cory), or foul-mouthed brats (Joe’s daughter). Joe takes it all grimly in stride because hey, he’s already hit rock bottom. He doesn’t care about anyone or anything, including himself. Action films don’t get any nastier than this one.

STEPHEN HOPKINS’ BLOWN AWAY — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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Back in the summer of 1994, there were three big action films to hit the marketplace: Speed, True Lies, and sandwiched in between, was the underrated Blown Away, which suffered the worst box office fate of the bunch but still delivered more than enough thrills and excitement to qualify as an action-packed blast of unpretentious entertainment. This movie is so much fun in an old-school, traditional manner (it just FEELS, in a great way, like an MGM movie), shot with lots of style by director Stephen Hopkins (Predator 2, The Ghost and the Darkness) and acted with intense ferocity by Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones, as a Boston bomb squad officer and a mad Irish bomber respectively. Jones is running wild on the streets of Boston, blowing up anything and everything he can find, all in an effort to exact revenge on his old friend Bridges, who both went through IRA/terrorist issues which are dealt with in black and white flashback. Bridges is the noble cop who always seems to know which wire to cut – the blue one or the red one. While the plotting is mostly predictable, the film knows exactly what it’s doing with its numerous action scenes, and it must be pointed out, that the film features the SINGLE GREATEST DONE-FOR-REAL EXPLOSION ever captured on film. There’s no debating this. I fucking LOVE movie explosions. I’ve made it a point to STUDY them throughout my life. This one is top-dog. When Jones’ old shipyard boat goes kablooey at the climax, you literally can’t believe what you’re watching and that the two fearless stuntmen weren’t killed or burned to death. The image has REAL camera shake, glass windows in downtown buildings were blown out, and total radio silence in and around Boston Harbor was kept for 10 miles so no interference could occur with the destruction of the balsa wood ship. Peter Levy’s cinematography is terrific all throughout, and the brisk editing keeps the pace moving fast. Kino has just released an excellent special edition Blu-ray of this extremely fun, throw-back type action thriller that was more old-fashioned than audiences may have been expecting. Hopkins provides a great, info-filled commentary, and the picture transfer is very crisp and clean, retaining that awesome, slick-and-gritty 90’s film stock look, with that final explosion looking all sorts of epic and awesome in full 2.35:1 widescreen (previous DVD releases were non-anamorphic). Alan Silvestri’s score is appropriately bombastic and thoroughly exciting. Forest Whitaker, Suzy Amis, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, John Finn, and Lloyd Bridges all offer memorable support. Cuba Gooding Jr. has literally 30 seconds of screen time in one scene. Jay Roach (Meet the Parents) got original story credit!

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