The Saint (1997)

Oh, where to begin?  This morning-after mess of a movie, starring 
Val Kilmer as the latest screen incarnation of Leslie Charteris' 
gentleman thief, is billed as a "romantic thriller."  Meaning, and  
when translated into a language that test audiences can understand,  
a movie with an action hero who talks about his feelings.  That's 
right-- a roguish, real *James Bond* of a character who mouths "I 
love you" and makes goo-goo eyes and, Heaven help us, has a moral 
crisis before screwing somebody's brains out.  All of this would be 
fine, of course, if we could believe even a minute of any scene 
starring Elisabeth Shue.  The Academy Award-nominated actress is 
horribly miscast as the introverted, poetry-sensitive, cold-fusion 
scientist with, get ready, a heart condition.  (I'm going to spoil 
the surprise:  one scene puts the pair in handcuffs, with Kilmer 
palming her pills on the sly!  Hilarious!)  Her best worst moments 
are when she looks in the direction of the camera, wearing an ex-
pression of vacancy as glaring as a neon sign.

THE SAINT is preposterous in other places.  A couple of Kilmer's 
disguises are absolute howlers.  (His long-haired Spaniard is 
pretty funny.  As is his buck-toothed Nutty Professor.)  Every 
Russian somehow speaks English.  A later sewer sequence makes no 
sense.  (Where in the Hell did they find those flashlights?)  And, 
in an equally far-fetched climax, a mob of thousands miraculously 
understands the significance of a miraculous energy source.  Oh, 
and let's not forget that coda!  The final fifteen minutes of this 
movie have to be seen to be disbelieved.  More sex.  Another of 
Shue's laughably vacant stares.  Kilmer getting cutesy.  An encore 
presentation of the Jerry Lewis disguise.  And, even, a botched 
joke involving the theme to the television series!  (Hint: listen 
closely.)  Rates higher than lousy, though, for production values 
and location photography, both of which are exemplary.  (Rated 
"PG-13"/117 min.)

Grade: C-

Copyright 1997 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: April 6, 1997

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