DAYLIGHT

Directed by Rob Cohen. USA. 1996.


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"Argh! Let me out! Let me out!" No, this is not a line from Sylvester Stallone's latest would-be blockbuster; it was me after about an hour sitting in the cinema watching it.  In Britain 1997 looks set to be the year of the disaster movie's (apparently) long-awaited return, and Daylight is the first of the crop.

It being a disaster movie the plot is simple; a random selection of people get stuck in a disastrous situation, some of them live, some of them don't. There's really not much more that can happen in such a film, and that's why most of them are so boring and end up being shown on television in the middle of the afternoon. The disaster? There's a tunnel connecting Manhattan to New Jersey via the Hudson river. It blows up.

Admittedly the initial exploding tunnel sequence is fairly impressive, making good use of computer technology, and the sets look big and expensive; but if you find yourself caring more for the rats chewing holes in them than the people, then you've got a bit of a problem.  Stallone is as strikingly uncharismatic as ever, and it's still impossible to hear half of what he's saying, particularly when something is exploding behind him. He would do well to stop appearing in tiresome kack like this and continue his career as an intellectual. The rest of the cast are supposed to be a cross section of American society; they're all irritating and shout a lot so I suppose they should be commended for their portrayals. 

The film continues the trend, started in Independence Day, of improbable escaping dogs in action sequences. Expect this to be a staple of the approaching tidal wave / lava flow / landslide of disaster flicks.  Daylight ought to stand as a warning to all producers who would follow in its sorry path, but I fear it is too late. 

Mark Pilkington
 
 
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Material Copyright © 2001 Nigel Watson