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hard rain

Hard Rain

Starring Christian Slater, Morgan Freeman and Randy Quaid
Based on a Screenplay by Graham Yost
Directed by Mikael Salomon
Website:   www.hardrain.com

IN SHORT:  "Run and Hide your head."

Yeah, there's a character in Hard Rain that quotes Springsteen once but Cranky ain't that clever. You'll have to settle for The Beatles. Cranky was going to write "Candice Bergin should stay the hell away from this film" but that would be too damn clever, as I'll explain a couple of 'graphs down.

Lessee, 2 years back Christian Slater starred in an action flick featuring a desert, a cute cop and a couple of stolen nukes. This time out he's in an action flick featuring town flooded by torrential rain, a cute building restorer and a couple a million dollars in potential stolen loot. Slater must have had a great time making Broken Arrow, 'cuz he's gone to the well again, and once is once too often, with Hard Rain.

Simply, Slater plays Tom, an armored car security guard whose truck gets water logged and waylaid, in short order. His partner (also his uncle, played by Ed Asner) killed, Tom manages to hide $3 million in cash as the bad guys (led by a stone faced Morgan Freeman in a by the book performance) chase him down in stolen JetSkis and powerboats. Along the way he teams with the local law (led by a most excellent Randy Quaid) and with a local church restorer (Minnie Driver).

What Slater delivers (he's a co-producer so I can lay this one on the poor guy, too) is a show which kicks into high suspense chase mode long before you get enough exposure to the lead character to sympathize. A whole bunch of minutes later comes what must be the dumbest scriptwriting error Cranky has ever read, heard or heard about in all the years he's walked this earth. The mistake is so blatant, so obvious, that actor Morgan Freeman should have caught it right away as he's old enough to know better. The specific line in error, about the 60-ish character played by Asner, goes like this:

"His middle name was MacArthur, because his parents liked..."

Cranky's mind finished the line immediately. The answer is General Douglas MacArthur, war hero of the proper time frame. The line continues:

"...that old radio show Charlie MacArthur."

Sloppy, stupid, lousy screenwriting. Charlie McCarthy (as in the Edgar Bergin and Charlie McCarthy radio show) was the name of the personality, a wooden dummy on the arm of Candice Bergin's father Edgar. It was one of the preeminent radio shows, and made the transition into films and television. The line is vital to one of the many twists and turns in Hard Rain. Cranky finds it hard to believe that not one of the hundred or so folk that worked on this flick or who read this script caught the error. Not one. Sheesh.

Other than that; If Cranky knew anything about how electricity works he'd probably make a stink about portable generators still working while 3/4 immersed in water. Or light bulbs selectively shorting out. But he don't so he won't.

Hard Rain knows the setup doesn't hold water, which is why it tries to toss in some (very funny, actually) old folk humor delivered by Betty White, who knows how to deliver. Just about every character gets a laugh line or two, but it confuses the point, which seems to be to return us all to the heady days of movie guns which fire 52 rounds of ammunition before needing a refill. It isn't rain which is falling from the heavens in Hard Rain, it's ammunition or guns loaded with same. Sheesh.

Did I mention that the torrential pouring rain rarely seems to hit the stars in the face? Sheesh.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Hard Rain, he would have paid . . .

$2.00

If you take Hard Rain for the goof ball flick that it is, it's a passable rental. But not much more.

Charlie MacArthur. <sigh>


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