Tuesday, 4 November 2008
PURE DANGER (1996)
Directed by: C. Thomas Howell
Written by: Joseph John Barmettler & William Applegate Jr
Starring: C. Thomas Howell, Terri Ann Linn, Marcus Chong & Leon
C. Thomas Howell stars in and directs the quirky action thriller, Pure Danger. Produced under the PM Entertainment banner, the story deals with paroled criminal, Johnny (Howell) and his girlfriend, Becky (Linn) making off with some stolen diamonds to live a better life. However, things don’t go smoothly as every gangster going is after said jewels and will stop at nothing, including much vehicular destruction, to get them.
Basically True Romance mixed with a little Reservoir Dogs and a good dollop of standard PM Entertainment car chase action, Pure Danger is a very hit and miss affair but, overall, entertaining. Howell juggles the role of director and star reasonably well (having done the same on another PM film, The Big Fall) but wears the hat of director more confidently. Creative camera angles, a fast pace and some exhilarating action help give the film a momentum all of its own. The dialogue is not as effective, the script peppered with sub-par Tarantino talk. The constant swearing and racial slurs eventually just seem lame and vulgar rather than witty dissections of the characters saying them. The acting is suitably over the top, though the comedy doesn’t always sit well with the bombastic action. The running gag of the twin henchman always playing games like Paper, Rock, Scissors is amusing, whereas the joke about one of the bad guys falling asleep during car chases just doesn’t work.
The photography by Ken Blakey is shot with a creative eye and there is a cool riff on the Reservoir Dogs torture scene. The action is of a high standard, including several gunfights and no less than 4 car chases. Handled by stunt co-ordinator, Spiro Razatos, the chases feature jaw dropping stunts with the finale cramming in enough car carnage for several films. With a neat twist ending, Pure Danger is a fun romp that fails in its aspiration to be a cool Taratinoesque (he has a lot to answer for) flick but succeeds in being a cool slice of action kookiness.