8 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 23, 1998
Hard to swallow 'Rain' drowns itself in downpour of cliches
By Prashant Tamaskar
I)aly Arts Writer
The huge success of the epic
"Titanic" has all but guaranteed the
continuation of a stale trend through
the next year: the disaster film.
Just when it seemed that
Hollywood was about to bury the
genre after bombs like "Dante's Peak"
and "Volcano," James Cameron's
"Titanic" came along and captured
the imagination of viewers all across
This means that we're going to have
to put up with productions like "Hard
Rain." Although the film does feature
a fine cast, the weak direction and
writing help sink it faster than a giant
ship that has just hit an iceberg.
The action begins with the evacua-
tion of the town of Huntingburg,
Indiana because of torrential rains
that are threatening to cause a flood.
Tom and Charlie (Christian Slater
and Ed Asner, respectively), a pair of
armored- truck guards, collect a large
sum of money from the local bank.
But, they are left stranded when the
water level becomes too high to
Charlie makes a distress call and,
after a short while, it appears that help
has arrived. Untbrtunately for our
heroes, the help turns out to be a group
of armed thieves who want the money
from the truck. Jim (Morgan Freeman)
leads the gang. A shootout ensues and
although Charlie is killed, Tom is able
to escape with the loot.
The rest of the movie focuses on
the search for Tom and the missing
money. Also involved are three
policemen (including one played by
Randy Quaid) and Karen, an attrac-
tive young woman (played by Minnie
Although the general premise of the
film is quite banal, the plot has enough
turns to keep the
interested. In RI
many ways, the
twists are pre-
dictable, but the
fact that they take
place injects At
enough life into
the movie to make it tolerable.
One of "Hard Rain"'s strengths is
the presentation of the featured play-
ers. The line separating good and
evil is blurred throughout the film.
The central characters, while fairly
underdeveloped, are not on cruise
control and do not necessarily
behave in the expected manner. Their
motivations are sometimes unclear
and they are slightly more than dull
On the other hand, the complexity of
the characters' actions are mitigated by
the atrocious dialogue they utter. Their
lines range from being cheesy to idiot-
ic, and the attempts at humor are unin-
ly collecting a paycheck in his
mechanical portrayal of Jim. Ditto
for Christian Slater and Ed AsnerJt's
interesting to see Randy Quaid play a
role where he's not an inbred goof-
ball, but it simply exhibits his lack of
versatility. Finally, Minnie Driver
plays Karen (the film's weakest and
most cliched character) effectivei4
but it is obvious that she, like -her
peers, is wasting her time.
The final nail in the coffin of "Hard
Rain" is the lack of creativity and the
redundancy of the action scees.
Salomon is unable to give the filmthe
adrenaline rush it needs. The crux of
the action featdres
Briarwood & Showcase
moving boats fof
the entire film,
shooting and miss-
kW4ning men Christian Slater and Morgan Freeman are in too deep in Paramount Pictures' "Hard Rain."
sequences are not particularly Well
shot. With the driving rain and lack of
lighting, it is difficult at times to tell
what is going on and the viewer never
gains an appreciation of the power '
the flood. The director chooses to keer
the focus on the repetitive chase scenes
rather than emphasize the visual splen-
dor of the deluge.
Although "Hard Rain" is not a, hor-
rible movie, it is extremely forget-
table. Hollywood needs to recognize
the fact that "Titanic" has done so well
because of the ability of the director to
construct a story that perfectly com-
plements the physical disaster. Unt'
executives come to this realizatio
the general public is left to suffer
through bloated disaster films like
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Director Mikael Salomon is not
able to coax much of anything out of
his actors. Morgan Freeman is mere-
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(the new UM chamber orchestra)
Kenneth Kiesler, conductor
Marilyn Mason, organ
Xiang Gao, violin
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Symphony No. 40 in g minor, K. 550
Violin Concerto in D Major, No. 4, K. 218
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household cleaners, gasoline, pesticides, oil paints,
>ed motor oil....Improper disposal allows these:.
ap into our river and groundwater. Seem trivial?
nericans dump over I I times as much used