- Actors: Morgan Freeman, Christian Slater, Randy Quaid, Minnie Driver, Edward Asner
- Directors: Mikael Salomon
- Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
- Rated: RestrictedR
- Number of tapes: 1
- Studio: Paramount
- VHS Release Date: June 6, 2000
- Run Time: 98 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 892 customer reviews
- ASIN: 6305017271
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #286,867 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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It may not be a disaster movie, per se, but this terminally silly thriller is certainly disastrous, and would be pointless without the novelty of its setting in a flooding Midwestern town during a torrential rainfall. Physically impressive but idiotic in every other respect, the movie pits an armored truck courier (Christian Slater) against a smart leader of thieves (Morgan Freeman) and a corruptible town sheriff (Randy Quaid) who are vying for possession of $3 million in cash. A waterlogged game of cat and mouse, the plot is so contrived that even the most impressive action sequences--such as a jet-ski chase through flooded high-school corridors--are robbed of their already tenuous credibility. Before long you'll be yawning as incompetent accomplices are systematically dispatched by their own stupidity, in the kind of movie where the use of power boats inevitably leads to at least one death by outboard motor. What's impressive here is the physical production itself--the effect of flooding was created by building a huge replica of downtown Huntington, Indiana, in a huge, watertight aircraft hangar in Palmdale, California! --Jeff Shannon
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This story would have worked better as a straight drama, with a cast of unknowns and fewer gags and camera gimmicks. Not awful, if you're watching it on Prime, but not worth paying for the privilege.
The character develop seemed incredibly poorly done, the story is rather absurd, and I just think the plot is completely unbelievable. The characters are not relatable as people, nor do they have any redeeming, human-like qualities to make any audience care about them or their decisions. In the movie, the (attempted) heist is unbelievable, and horrifically planned, and just completely ridiculous to consider.
It tries to tackle several different conflicts: stolen/missing money, death, corrupt public officials, meaning and order for one's life, and it includes a cheap attempt at romance involving Minnie Driver and an old church for some odd reason, which is never really in line with the story, at least as far as I could tell as I could only handle this movie in small increments.
It tries to hard to make twists to keep its audience engaged, and surprised, but they are cheap twists, not hinted or foreshadowed well at all.
Even Morgan Freeman, being Morgan Freeman and the greatest part of this movie and the only one who seemed to care about actually acting and being a real character, could not salvage the train-wreck of incoherent absurdity which comprises this film.
Perhaps there is more symbolism hidden with the movie than I give it credit for, but the convoluted plot and absurdity of the story itself continue to muddle any kind of coherence which was present.
I recall seeing publicity shots in 1997 for scenes (and characters) that aren't even in the movie. I guess we'll never know what Graham Yost's script was originally about. Paramount figured that the public had had enough of disaster movies and re-tooled 'The Flood' as a heist flick midway through filming. I can't say if it's for better or worse, but Hard Rain is still an exciting action ride.
Yes, the characterization is thin, but it avoids the cliche of making them all annoying as a quick way of defining them (something Twister, Volcano, and Dante's Peak were guilty of). The stragglers caught in the deluge as Huntingburg, Indiana is swept off the face of the Earth don't need to define themselves. They are who they are. Since the movie virtually takes place in real time there's little room for meaningless development.
Minnie Driver's unconvincing accent aside, the cast do pretty well with the material, and Slater makes for a better action hero here than he did in Broken Arrow (ironically, by the same writer).
Hard Rain works best in the cinema. It's too bad that it flopped because the big screen is where it deserved to be seen. Too many folks have seen and criticized this film from TV viewings that do the scope of the action no justice whatsoever. The water and chaos is very well shot and brilliantly staged. The bouncing, shaking, wobbling camera was an innovative idea, and if you like the slow-motion fire-fights of John Woo movies then you'll get a kick out of Hard Rain.
Another strong aspect that has gone overlooked with the rest of the movie is Chris Young's powerful score; the orchestral sound of violence, mayhem, and nature taking over. Seriously, it's great stuff and you really ought to get Hard Rain: Music From The Motion Picture.
Despite the bad reviews and poor box office returns Hard Rain is still a highly entertaining B-movie. We'll never know the full story behind its trouble production (there hasn't been anything close to a Special Edition DVD, and Mikael Salomon has never spoken publicly about it), but I recommend it to all action movie junkies. You won't be disappointed.
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