Review by Dragan Antulov|
1 star out of 4
Phrase "high concept" are profanity in the vocabulary of
many of today's film critics. But even such, most despised
category of Hollywood bad movies has certain layers of
sub-categories. There are "high concept" movies based on a
single idea, or single storyline or plot. In case of THE
SPECIALIST, 1994 action thriller directed by Luis Llosa
there wasn't even such original idea. High concept was
simply in pairing two popular actors of the time - action
superstar Sylvester Stallone and blonde bombshell Sharon
Stone. Result was, of course, predictable, but hardly anyone
expected the critics to massacre film with such ferocity.
Stallone here plays Ray Quick, CIA bomb expert who retired
after accidentally killing innocent people and now lives in
Miami with his cat. Sharon Stone plays May Munro, beautiful
woman determined to avenge the deaths of her parents, killed
by Miami crime lord Tomas Leon (played by Eric Roberts). Two
of them never meet, but they exchange messages through BBS.
Ray agrees to use his talents in order to help her get her
revenge and begins the bombing campaign against the bad
guys. That bombing campaign would bring the attention of
Ray's old and corrupt colleague Ned Trent (James Woods), who
is ready to mobilise entire Miami police force to get him.
Later, it would turn out that May's motives aren't so clear.
Based on the novel by John Shirley, the screenplay by
Alexandra Seros offers standard, formulaic plot with
cardboard characters and couple or predictable plot twists.
The actors aren't very interested in their roles - Stallone
is wooden, and Sharon Stone (unlike in her future roles)
offers nothing more than her good looks. Speaking about
later, film also features steamy sex scene between two
protagonists, the element almost obligatory in any major
production Ms. Stone had during the particular period of her
career. The scene was well-done, but bellow the standards
set by Verhoeven in BASIC INSTINCT. Other actors are also
rather unispired, to say the least - Roberts plays standard
cardboard villain, and veteran Rod Steiger is laughable as
Latino godfather. The show is stolen by James Woods whose
overacting scenes actually brings some life into this dull
and predictable motion picture. The explosions are, however,
well-done, although some of the special effects seem corny.
Not interested in plot and characters, director Llosa, who
used to do much better work in SNIPER, tries to make
impression by providing noirish atmosphere of Miami. That
effort partially fails, and the musical score by John Barry,
which is good as always, only reminds the audience that
there were much better films out there. There are, of
course, much worse films out there, and this film perhaps
didn't deserve its horrible reputation, but very few people
should have to endure watching THE SPECIALIST just in order
to come to such conclusion.
Copyright © 1999 Dragan Antulov