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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, September 18, 2014 - Edition No 915 
Reckoning

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SAINT, THE

SYNOPSIS:
The Saint is a thief - successful enough to have some $45 million in his Swiss bank account (which he accesses on his lap-top). He needs just one more big job to get him to his target of $50 million and heíll get out. Quit. The job comes along all right, and itís a doozy. To steal the formula for cold fusion, invented by a beautiful young Oxford scientist, Emma Russell (Shue), and deliver it to the ambitious Ivan Tretiak (Serbedzija) in Moscow, whose plan is to take power in the new Russia. Helped by numerous disguises and gadgets, The Saint sets about his task, but finds himself under the influence of Emmaís innocent and sincere nature. Emma is herself in great danger as the only one able to complete the secret formula, and they run the gauntlet of Tretiakís violent son Ilya (Nikolaev) and his goons in a desperately cold Moscow winter.

"It may be that Iím prejudiced - or my preconceptions wouldnít get out of the way - but this aint The Saint. This seems to me to be some corroded amalgam of Batman and Bond, perhaps, with a dash of Inspector Gadget. He is unrecognisable as Simon Templar, the suave, well educated and super- smooth and acceptably naughty but boyish man, smoothing his way outside the law. Nor does the script do justice to The Saintís legacy of brains over brawn: Simon Templar has more real class. Perhaps the problem lies in having Americans write the screenplay, whose terms of reference are Die Hard With A Vengeance (which is one of the credits of co-writer Jonathan Hensleigh). Wrong terrain. It follows that I also quibble with casting Val Kilmer in the role; I also quibble with the characterisation. Sorry, Phil Noyce, I think youíre a terrific filmmaker, and I understand you are trying to re-invent this character from the ground up, but I think this was an error of judgement. We all do it sometime. I needed some humour in there to balance the glum. Even if we cast aside the issue of his un-Saintliness, our hero should be either likeable, approachable or at least sharply funny. He is too cold and a bit dour for me. Shueís scientist character is too faint to be credible, and the storyline is a tad tired. But there were things I really liked: the Moscow scenes were wonderfully staged, directed and designed, and all the supporting cast playing the Moscow Mafia (and the others) were excellent, credible and fresh. You know what - I think it needed Aussie writers."
Andrew L. Urban

"While providing action, chases, thrills and spills, the long awaited screen version of The Saint disappoints. The script never gels, and while the notion of establishing how Simon Templar becomes a saint is a good idea, it is overworked and heavy handed in its execution. Val Kilmer seems uncomfortable in his role as Simon Templar. Perhaps the role requires the understated suaveness and elegance of an Englishman, as the character was originally created by Leslie Charteris. The disguises are fun, if overdone, but it is the lack of proper development of characterisation that mars his performance. Kilmer has shown great range in roles in Ghost and the Darkness, Batman and The Doors, and this script lets him down. Templarís relationship with Emma Russell is not well developed, and so lacks the emotional satisfaction that it deserves. Elisabeth Shue is vivaciously innocent in her role as Emma Russell, although I found it hard to believe that the naÔve girl she portrays could be such a brilliant physicist. Whether Shue and Kimer played chemistry games off screen, who knows? But on screen there wasn't much sizzle! The Saint excels in the action scenes, of which there are plenty, and the Red Square location provides good colour for much of it. And as for Holland Parkís Halcyon Hotel, it has undoubtedly never seen so much action."
Louise Keller



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SAINT, THE (M) 15+
(US)

CAST: Val Kilmer, Elisabeth Shue, Irina Apeximova, Michael Byrne, Henry Goodman, Yevgeni Lazarev, Valeri Nikolayev

DIRECTOR: Phillip Noyce

PRODUCER: David Brown, Robert Evans, Mace Neufeld

SCRIPT: Jonathan Hensleigh, Wesley Strick (Story by Jonathan Hensleigh) Based on Leslie Charteris novels)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Phil Meheux

EDITOR: Terry Rawlings

MUSIC: Graeme Revell III

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Joseph C. Nemec III


AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 17, 1997

See Andrew L. Urban's interview with Phil Noyce

AUSTRALIAN VIDEO RELEASE: September, 1998

AUSTRALIAN VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: CIC VIDEO

R.R.P: $24.95







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