Monday, 20 April 2015

Most Wanted


MOST WANTED (1997)

Directed by: David Hogan
Written by: Keenan Ivory Wayans
Starring: Keenan Ivory Wayans, Jon Voight, Jill Hennessey, Paul Sorvino, Robert Culp & Eric Roberts

Slick piece of 90s action nonsense that still looks good, delivers the stunts but is rather dated in its silly man-on –the-run shenanigans. Keenan Ivory Wayans writes, produces and stars in this vanity action vehicle about a disgraced (though wrongly accused!) military sniper who is saved from death row by Jon Voight’s shady general. Recruiting Wayans to join his top secret soldier squad, Voight swiftly sets up Wayans for the murder of the first lady and the poor dude then has no choice but to go on the run and engage in lots of running, big stunts, fisticuffs and the usual 90s action movie daftness.

Slick and speedy, Most Wanted is glossy action fun from a time when action movies were made simply to just entertain, had a wrongly accused hero to get behind and the action was never over edited or full of shaky-cam nonsense. Wayans obviously fancied a crack a being an action star (along with this he also starred in the the equally silly but enjoyable Steven Seagal 90s vehicle The Glimmer Man) and why not. Sure the whole flick is geared around him being a bad ass hero though there is solid support from the likes of the lovely Jill Hennessy (Exit Wounds), Eric Roberts (who really just has a glorified cameo) and Paul Sorvino as a cigar chomping CIA dude who may or may not be an ally to our put upon hero. However, acting honours go to the great Jon Voight as the mad general who walks the finest of lines between hammy pantomime villain and menacing antagonist. He certainly seems to be having fun and not taking events too seriously (or not seriously at all!) and would appear to be channelling his performance (and accent) from Anaconda. He’s a hoot!


In fact, Most Wanted cannot really be taken seriously at all as the minute it appears to be turning into a serious action thriller it goes and throws in a load of 90s action silliness. Along with Voight doing his over-the-top bad guy, we get an insane sequence where Wayans’ hero is chased through the streets by civilians wanting to catch him and receive the huge reward on his head. The scene comes out of nowhere is mounted as a big set-piece and ends in a massive car pileup (complete with explosions) and almost derails the action fun that was being had up until this point with its complete insaneness. Only in the 90s (and possibly the 80s) could sequences like this have been deemed a good idea!

Still, for the most part Most Wanted is action soaked fun as director David Hogan (who also helmed the ludicrous but equally fun Barb Wire) keeps everything slick and exciting and the action and stunts are still impressive by today’s standards: including an extraordinary high fall/jump from a skyscraper. It may be pretty run-of-the-mill, didn’t really turn Ivory Wayans into an action star and Voight may elicit more chuckles than tense threats but Most Wanted is some uncomplicated and well made action fluff. 




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