108 of 111 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2000
Just the other night I caught "The Saint" on television, and I was rapt. Aside from the movies ride through Russia, and the ingenious escape methods of Val Kilmer's character, Simon Templar, a theif with interesting disguises and gadgets, it is the love story that has taken me. Elisabeth Shue's character makes your heart ache: someone so beautiful to be so alone and in search for the magic of love. The chemistry between Kilmer and Shue is absolutely overwhelming, and it makes me wonder why I have read so many critic reviews on this movie that have shot it to the dirt? Why listen to critics anyway? What exactly do they expect? This is a movie where you have to see the beauty and the fun that it displays, and understand the purity and magnificence of true, spirited love. Critics can dog this movie all they want, where it's action may not excite the "Armageddon" fans, and it's suspense may not grip the "Scream" fans, the excellence of this movie is left for those who can relate to it. In this world that lacks magic, is filled with disappointments, and sad, repeititive activities, this movie is the spice that anyone's life can use. Yes, critics, shake your heads in disgust, just know that The Saint's love story alone by far trascends the over-rated greatness of "Titanic" and other such movies that everyone went mad over. Judge a movie by what it gives to you, not by what you expect of it. "The Saint" is definitly 1 of very few movies that will soon be entering my movie collection.
63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2003
I really liked this film, and yes, I have seen the series with Roger Moore. I note that the reviews here so far seem to fall into two camps: people who never saw the series, and loved the film, and people who loved the series, and just can't get over their disappointment that their beloved character wasn't faithfully portrayed on the big screen.
No, Val Kilmer's Simon Templar is not the same as Roger Moore's. but this isn't really such a bad thing. The movie is a really nice, underrated spy thriller. It's got action, romance, exotic locals, love-to-hate-em villains, a likeable hero, and a plot that doesn't strain suspension of disbelief too far. What more do you want in a popcorn movie?
I'll admit, if you're a real fan of the series or the books it might have been nice to have a movie that reflects the original a little more faithfully. But it might be well to recognize that the series was not without its faults as well. For one thing, it always bothered my about the series that Simon Templar is an unadulterated good guy, who never, ever does anything really criminal or base or rotten, yet everywhere he goes, the local authorities are watching him like hawks, as though he is some kind of arch criminal.
I'm also rather thrown for a loop that some of the reviewers here blast the movie for being unbelievable, and then decry Val Kilmer's Simon Templar because he's not like the "real" Saint. True, this version is not all that faithful to the spirit of Leslie Charteris' character, but that Saint was a freelance, adventuring do-gooder, a man who read the papers eager to find a cause to involve himself in. His moral code was strong, and his motives were also pure: he would never hurt, steal from, or kill anyone who doesn't completely deserve it. In short, the Saint was the Robin Hood of the twentieth century. Folks, let's face it, this is not the most believable character in fiction. I grant you, it's certainly fun, and it might have played well in the pulp era of the 1920s in which the character orignated (or even the early to mid 60s when the series was made), but the producers of the film probably felt (and perhaps not wrongly, let's grant) that this sort of thing was just too much for audiences to swallow in today's more cynical era.
If you can get over the fact that this is not really Leslie Charteris' Saint, then you will find this movie to be a really fun, entertaining spy thriller. I recommend it.
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2000
For some reason, The Saint was not the hugest hit at the box office. After buying the video and watching it many times, I wonder why.
The acting was great. Val Kilmar once again proves that he is one of the most multi-dimensional actors of our time. Just think of all the different TYPES of roles that he's played in movies over the years. In The Saint, he gets to assume even more roles with his constant disguise changes and varying voice inflections. Elizabeth Shue was great as well. Her character was both smart and a little out of it, and I guess if I were designing a genius character for a movie, it would be like that: smart in their field, but a little out of touch with the world. The bad guys also did a great job.
The story is fun and exciting, a little unbelievable, but hey, that's why we go see movies, right? There's gadgets, humor, suspense, romance...it's all here. The Saint had all the makings of a classic.
Fans of the TV series will get a kick out of Roger Moore being the radio voice at the end. I feel that overall the makers of the movie did an admirable job of taking the Saint story and fitting it into the 1990's while staying true to the original idea.
GREAT movie. Bravo!
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2004
Short story: Val Kimler makes this absolutely worth it.
Long story: Yes, it may be a weak throwback to the notorious Saint comics and all that. So what. The movie is modern, stylish and always keeps you on the edge with its elaborate pseudo-politics, intriguing ideas and rehashed romantic mishmash.
Whenever it starts to drag Kilmer turns up in a new disguise and that alone carries the film through to its next thrill. Not to mention that the chemistry between Shue and Kilmer is hot enough to sizzle a steak.
Add to that mix a high-octane Prodigy-induced sountrack and you've got a fun flick with an exciting roulette of action and suspense.
Highly recommended rental.
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
I did see the original series, but still really liked this movie. Val Kilmer made a great Simon Templar! I thought his multiple personalities embodied in his disguises were well done. The accents, languages, and mannerisms were also what were expected of him. There was a nice balance of romance and suspense, which is what made this highly enjoyable.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2000
I have watched this movie so many times it boggles the mind. Every time I watch it I like it even more. I think The Saint was very under-rated. It has it all. Good acting by Kilmer and Shue, as well as good effects, stuntwork and a solid story.
This is what good spy movies should be like. Granted Templar is a thief, but that's a technicallity in this movie. Arguably the best thief in the world is working his way towards retirement when he gets caught up in a plot, led by a Russian oil tychoon names Tretiak, to take over the USSR.
Shue plays Doctor Russell who is working on the formula for cold fusion that Templar is tasked to steal. She becomes a partner of sorts to Templar in a quest to thwart the plans of Tretiak.
Every aspect of The Saint comes together to make it a modern day classic that can challenge the likes of Goldeneye and other great spy movies.
Not only an action film, The Saint has the nice subplot of a love story between Templar and Dr. Russell, that plays a larger role in the ladder half of the movie as the two characters fall for each other.
Why this movie didn't break out as a hit I think I may never know. At least you now have the change to make up for what you missed in the theaters. Enjoy a sleeper hit movie with The Saint.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2006
I first saw this movie in the theater in '97 and though I soon forgot the plot, I came away with a general sense of having enjoyed the film. So I grabbed the DVD when it was on sale for $5 and just watched it again. Now I remember why I enjoyed it so much the first time.
What I really liked:
1) The two lead characters are multi-dimensional.
Simon is nuanced, a bad guy with a code of ethics. I know, nothing new there. But in Simon's case, he seems unaware of his own ethics, only discovering he has them when he comes into contact with someone else whose moral code is so powerful (Dr. Russell). I love the moment when he starts to see the moral implications of what he's about to do---steal from someone he respects---and realizes he can't do it. A moment of redemption, all too quickly followed by another ethical quandary: he is forced to steal her formula anyway in order to protect her.
Dr. Emma Russell so closely resembles the many super intelligent people I've known that she resonates as genuine. Yes, it's very likely that a genius would have palpitations when faced with public speaking. Yes, it's also extremely likely that a genius would be socially awkward, shy, and suffer a lack of social self confidence. In addition, Ms. Shue portrays Dr. Russell with a bit of clumsiness, and sweet innocence and enthusiasm, making her an approachable and likeable heroine.
2) Dr. Russell's heart condition---as near as I can figure without it having been explicitly named---is accurately portrayed. Her symptoms and the need for a pill at specific times does match an actual rhythm disturbance (I have a relative with the same condition). As a discriminating viewer, I find little details like this a thrill, because so many Hollywood movies get sloppy.
3) The movie manages to tell it's story without unnecessary cursing, bloodshed and explicit sex. Sex is even part of the romance, but in a touching, understated way. I'm not against the use of these elements when they're germane to the story (as is the violence, for example, in Saving Private Ryan). However, many modern movies indulge too much in sex, violence and profanity just for audience titillation, or because it's thought to be expected. This film does it all tastefully, placing the violence and sex in the context of the story, and not the other way around.
4) Mr. Kilmer seems to relish playing such a diverse array of characters. I found his accents to be quite realistic and his adoption of each persona was fascinating. Watch his body language--it's distinctly different with each new 'identity.' That's what is called 'character acting,' and I think it's a true mark of talent when an actor can pull it off.
5) It's pure, escapist fantasy fun. You're not supposed to take this movie seriously. This was never meant to win an Academy Award. It's just a popcorn movie, but one with refreshingly rich characters and incredible backdrops in the capitals of Europe.
What I don't like about this movie is mostly nit-picky, but I'll throw it out there:
1) The science of cold fusion is ridiculous. The writers would have done better to not attempt to explain it, as anyone with an ounce of understanding will quickly see through Dr. Russell's 'explanation' at the start of the film. Despite this flaw, I do still greatly enjoy the story and I can still suspend belief enough to go along for the ride. I just wish they'd have treated this with as much care as the heart condition.
2) Speaking of the heart condition, it plays a major part through the first 2/3rds of the film, then abruptly disappears. A miracle cure?
3) Given that the main characters are well-drawn and believable, it's a bit bewildering that Dr. Russell so quickly forgives Simon for his betrayal. After one quick scene where she justifiably rebukes him, she then rather happily trots off with him and all is forgiven.
4) There are two 'false' endings. Just when you think you've reached the end ... you haven't. It goes on. And then on some more. I suppose this was the result of an inability of the writers to figure out how to get where they wanted to go.
As for the DVD itself, I wish there were more special features, at least some deleted scenes. Maybe for the Director's Cut version?
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2006
This movie will always hold a dear place in my wife and I's DVD collection. Val Kilmer is the most underated actor today even though he is considered by american pop/bubble gum/Britney/fivty cent/tatoo on the lower back culture to be over the hill. After seeing him in Tombstone, who is a better actor? Oh, I know ... sorry can't think of any. Ice T, Vin Diesel? I rest my case. The old school which I enjoy watching (Pacino, Defoe, Gibson, Eastwood, Hackman, etc) won't be around forever. Who is there now? The next 20 year old pretty boy aimed at the 12-18 year old female crowd? The only other actors my age or younger I consider worthy are Depp, Colin Farrel, and the guy from the Bourne movies. All venting aside I am sure there are others I'm missing but you get my point. The Saint is a smart, action packed, fun movie that I'll enjoy watching again and again. You British and your fish and chips. Do you like it? What do you like about it? It was a gift from my mother... I was laughing thoughout the movie at the way the sardonic humor was used to keep things from being too serious. How about What a long beautiful cane you have to go with your beautiful eyes? stated by Kilmer in the 'cozy little German transit lounge'. Very funny stuff and a great movie for those that can recognize a great movie when they see one and not take themselves too serious.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2002
"The Saint" is an action and romance packed movie, featuring veteran actors Val Kilmer and Elizabeth Shue. "The Saint" was originally a television series in the 1960's featuring Roger Moore as the Saint. But as most cases are, this 1997 new movie version of the character of the Saint is only remotely close to the original. And again as most cases are, it isn't really such a bad thing. My suggestion is that if you have seen the original series and you are about to watch this movie, keep an open mind in that the character and the feel of Simon Templar is a bit different.
Val Kilmer plays Simon Templar, the man of many faces and names. Though none other than a mercenary spy and a thief, he is always in the right as he thwarts enemies while giving British authorities a merry chase. The country of Russia is in chaos as there is a severe oil shortage. The people are rising in a revolution, the leader being Ivan Tretiak (Rade Serbedzija) who is in actuality cheating and lying to all his 'fellow countrymen'. In fact he and his son, Ilya (Valeri Nikolayev) are your average power-hungry bad guys, in fact the ones who started a fake oil shortage! Their plan is to steal Dr. Emma Russell's (Elisabeth Shue) fusion power theory with the help of Simon Templar, thus getting more support from the people of Russia. But as Simon falls in love with the beautiful doctor (and she with him), he changes plans and helps her escape the Tretiak's while saving the Russian people dying from the cold.
Val Kilmer does a marvelous job in his character, all of his disguises and fake accents completely well-done. His many disguises change from a long-haired artist, a peppered gray mustache for a Russian, thinning hair and dorky face and glasses for a reporter, and more. His accents are the most well-done and range from a thick Russian accent, bright Australian accent, soft South African accent, and more! And Elizabeth Shue for me has certainly grown up, since I've only seen her as a teenager in "The Karate Kid" and "Adventures in Babysitting". Her acting is pretty good but I didn't really like her that much as I like most other heroines in other movies.
The story line is averagely good, and as some people have mentioned, at times the movie was a bit tedious and long-drawn. In my opinion, I think they could have cut out more of the romantic scenes and included more espionage, action, escapes, fights... you get the idea. I just felt that just when it was getting exciting, it was either suddenly cut short or the suspense was taken out. What action there was though was fantastic! Very exciting, the best scenes include the Saint stealing a microchip in the beginning and all the escapes from Tretiak's henchmen.
I feel that all action movies should always have a bit of humor instilled and "The Saint" does have its funny moments. I love the part in the beginning where Simon is just about to break into a building, discovers that the door isn't locked then remarks, "I love this country!" The ending is pretty funny also as he has a run in with some inspectors from Scotland Yard. Simon Templar's car horn is pretty cool!
Put it all together, "The Saint" is pretty fantastic if you have a free 2 hours to spare. As I said, if you've been a fan of "The Saint" and you're about to watch this movie, keep an open mind if you hope to enjoy it! The PG-13 rating is for adult situations and the action.
A bit of trivia: In the end of the movie, Simon turns on the radio and listens to an announcer. I wasn't sure but I was able to confirm that the radio announcer's voice is none other than Roger Moore, the man who played The Saint in the television series!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 1999
Well it's kind of hard to describe this film. It's such a mix of elements that you can't really categorize it. On the one hand it's a romance with great chemistry between Elisabeth Shue and Val Kilmer. On the other hand it's and action film with the standard chase scenes, car explosions, etc. Then there's the spy/thief type element, with Val Kilmer brilliantly playing the chameleon 'saint.' There's even a sub-plot about the need for a clean energy source.
So obviously with all those elements there's something in here to appeal to everyone. That's not to say the movie's perfect. Look elsewhere if you want a serious drama, or oscar caliber performances. But honestly the film succeeds on all counts to be entertaining and engrossing.
The DVD version doesn't have a lot of extras; only audio commentary and the trailer. However the picture quality is amazing. This is probably the sharpest and brightest DVD I have in my collection. The sound quality is also excellent.
So if you want a fun and entertaining movie that you can watch again and again, by all means pick up this disk!