Hard Rain (1998) Poster

(1998)

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9/10
Much better than rating suggests!
J Andrew Evans5 April 2006
Really surprised at the low rating of this film which as a action thriller is immensely watchable and re-watchable which for me is the test of a good film – that is bears being seen over and over. It is as others have said an endlessly inventive thriller with good action and the idea of a film where all the characters are continuously falling in, or speeding over floods in tremendous. It is not as others have said "another heist film" because the environment and opportunity of the potential crime is different and thought provoking. Doesn't this gain some extra interest given the Hurricane flooding in the southern states also? I enjoy Morgan Freeman's portrayal as well as Christian Slater and Minnie Driver's performances. The old couple is a marvellous piece of human comedy, well portrayed by both actors. Watch this film and then . . . watch it again!
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7/10
Good action flick
Peter Collins10 March 2006
Hard Rain is a nifty action thriller, set during the middle of a titanic flood in a small town in Indiana. Christian Slater plays a local security guard, attempting to transport the loot out of town with his partner, but as always, it all goes terribly wrong. On the run, from a band of determined thieves, led by Morgan Freeman Slater hides the money and takes refuge with the town sheriff and his band of officers. Only they're seeing green too and Slater is on his own.

The sodden atmosphere of this film is unique and impressive, as is the set design. The film is technically very cool, clever too and working with so much water must've been hell for the crew. The performances are all well rounded enough in Hard Rain but the script lacks the spark to truly make this great or memorable. Sure there are some exciting moments, but what action film doesn't have some excitement? With such a unique setting, I'm surprised that there just wasn't more of a good thing. Overall, I enjoyed it. This film is good action flick. Nothing more, nothing less.
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I dig it!!
jadolie17 March 2007
This is a great film that should have made a bigger splash at the box office. It really isn't just another run of the mil action flick. It's more of a natural disaster meets crime movie; which make for an awesomely unique story with one of a kind scenes to take place. Christian Slater dominates the screen as he does best; I only wish he was still leading man material instead of getting bit roles. I do admit there are times when you know what's going to happen before it does but you do still get some great surprises in there. I love the humor, there is a lot of it but they don't go over the top with it to where you can't take the movie serious. Big thumbs up for this underrated film. Love it!!
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7/10
Fast, exciting action flick with possibly too much shooting (and everyone a bad shot!)
moonspinner552 May 2006
Christian Slater plays an armored truck guard who has to deal with thieves, the crooked police, a fierce Indiana rainfall, and a flooded town while trying to protect three million dollars in the company vehicle. Well-done action flick isn't epic-scale, but does have many suspenseful close-calls and colorful characters, plus good performances by Slater, Morgan Freeman, Minnie Driver, and Richard Dysart and Betty White as an elderly couple who didn't evacuate when they were supposed to. Randy Quaid overplays heinously as a trigger happy sheriff, and the continual shootouts in the final third get repetitive, but this scenario (an entire town slowly being submerged) is exceptionally well-captured and the filmmakers didn't forget to add some good humor into the mix. **1/2 from ****
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Morgan Freeman as an armoured car robber?
roostersmaling23 January 2000
Though Morgan Freeman is an absolute legend, I can't see him being the bad guy robber at the beginning. After his stellar performance in "The Shawshank Redemption," he has left himself too open to being seen by fans as a "nice guy." True, he did play a convict in that movie, but you never saw him commit the crime that landed him there. Therefore casting him as an armoured car robber didn't sit right with me.

Christian Slater did a "Michael J. Fox" (The Concierge/Secret of My Success) by copycatting his own performance in "Broken Arrow" (same screenplay writer...).

The ending is too abrupt, but, overall, I did enjoy the movie all the same. For action fans only...
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6/10
Water and Greed
Claudio Carvalho15 November 2015
In Huntingburg, the armored truck with three million dollars driven by Tom (Christian Slater) and his Uncle Charlie (Edward Asner) gets stuck in the flooding and realizes that the town has been evacuated since the dam does not have capacity to hold the storm. While waiting for the National Guard, they are attacked by Jim (Morgan Freeman) and his gang formed by Kenny (Michael Goorjian), Mr. Mehlor (Dann Florek) and Ray (Ricky Harris) and the clumsy Kenny kills Charlie. Tom flees with the bags of money and hides them in the cemetery. Then he is hunted down by Jim and his gang and he hides in a church. Out of the blue, he is knocked out and awakes locked in a cell. Soon he learns that the restorer Karen (Minnie Driver) believed he was a looter and hit him. Sheriff Mike Collins (Randy Quaid) and Deputy Wayne Bryce (Mark Rolston) go to investigate Tom' story while Officer Phil (Peter Murnik) takes Karen out of the town by boat. However she escapes with the boat and goes to the church. Meanwhile Tom is trapped in the cell full of water and Karen rescues him. He decides to return to the armored truck to retrieve a shotgun but he is captured by Jim and his men and learns that Charlie was part of the gang. He tries to retrieve the hidden money for the gang, but Sheriff Collins and his men have already taken it. Soon Tom learns that the Sheriff wants to keep the money for him and his men and Tom and Karen are witnesses and he teams up with Jim.

"Hard Rain" is a combination of disaster genre with crime and action. Despite the negative reviews, the action scenes are spectacular, the cast is excellent and the plot has a great twist based on the ancient proverb "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Tempestade" ("Storm")
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6/10
Brainless Fun
Rumples29 September 1998
If you are looking for a movie that has some action and is moderately entertaining without requiring much cerebral activity, this is right up your street. It suited my purposes at the time I rented it so I quite enjoyed it. I had heard nothing about it except for the preview I'd seen. Yes, it's no brilliant piece of movie-making, and no it won't change your life. But it is fun and entertaining and doesn't claim to be anything else. (I was pleasantly surprised with Betty White's performance, a long way from 'Golden Girls')
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7/10
Action & Humour In Drenched Heist Thriller
seymourblack-126 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
In Mikael Salomon's "Hard Rain", a natural disaster, a heist and a sheriff who goes rogue, are just a few of the problems that an armoured truck driver has to contend with when he tries to prevent $3 million in cash from getting into the wrong hands. His incident-packed story is told at high speed with shoot-outs, chases and explosions featuring at various junctures as well as bullets, boats and betrayals providing further dangers. There's also absolutely no let-up in the level of threat that he's under as he gets pursued by two very determined groups of men who are prepared to do whatever it takes in order to steal the loot and eliminate any witnesses.

When the small town of Huntingburg, Indiana is hit by a torrential rainstorm and the floodwater starts to rise at an alarming speed, armoured truck drivers Tom (Christian Slater) and his Uncle Charlie (Edward Asner) are instructed to collect all the cash held at the town's banks as a matter of urgency. After completing their collections and starting to make their way back out of town, the truck gets stuck in a flooded section of road and Charlie makes a radio call to inform the National Guard. Almost immediately, they get ambushed by a gang of four men, one of whom shoots and kills Charlie. Tom then manages to escape with the bags of money which he subsequently hides in a cemetery.

The gang, which is led by Jim (Morgan Freeman), pursues Tom until he gives them the slip and hides out in a local church. There, he gets knocked unconscious by a woman named Karen (Minnie Driver) who, after having mistaken him for a looter, takes him to the sheriff's office. Sheriff Mike Collins (Randy Quaid) believes Tom's account of what had happened, but as a precaution, locks him up in a cell until his story can be checked out. The sheriff and his deputies continue to try to ensure that all the townsfolk are evacuated safely but Karen escapes from the deputy who'd been instructed to escort her away from danger and instead goes back to the church (which she'd been restoring), to fill the pumps.

Soon the huge dam that overlooks Huntingburg is no longer able to fully retain all its water and Karen rescues Tom from drowning in his cell in the unattended sheriff's office. The two of them then team up to try and get away from the extreme danger they're in from the flood and Jim's gang and the sheriff (who's bitter about not being re-elected to his post in the recent election) decide to steal the $3 million and kill anyone who gets in their way.

This movie's special effects, cinematography and well-directed action sequences are all highly impressive and the acting performances are also good. The sheer pace of the action ensures that the interest-level remains high throughout and there are also some humorous moments to enjoy. "Hard Rain" isn't the kind of movie that would stand up well to repeat viewings but is nevertheless, full of action that's exciting and fun to watch.
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8/10
Unusual and very well done
Neil Welch15 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Hard Rain is an action adventure thriller movie. The main thrust of the plot concerns the efforts of security guard Tom (Christian Slater) to prevent assorted hoodlums from stealing the money he and his partner are transporting. The unusual element of this movie is that it takes place during a deluge which has resulted in extensive flooding, so most of the action takes place in and around a town which is almost underwater.

Considering that the main appeal of the movie is the water-based locations, action and stunts, the film-makers have done quite a good job in providing a plot with a number of twists, and characters who are more than cardboard cut-outs. OK, so not much more, admittedly, but there is still an element of depth to them (the water in town is deeper)(sorry).

But the semi-aquatic realm in which the movie is set is flawlessly realised. The main track through town (along which boats race), and the water-filled interiors of the school, the jail, a church, and assorted houses - all are absolutely convincing, as is the action which takes place in them.

This is a very enjoyable movie with a most unusual premise.
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10/10
Pan, Pan, Pan, I'm shooting in the rain, I'm shooting in the rain, ... (DVD)
leplatypus26 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I discovered this movie because there is Minnie Driver in it and i must say that this is a great one! Except "War of worlds" by Spielberg, i don't know a movie with such an apocalyptic setting: Mother Nature is set loose and threatens to flood everything. But instead of focusing with megalopolises (NY, LA) and calling for the President, this realistic movie happens in a little town of Indiana. Thus, it is closes to our every day life and we can better understand the threat.

I don't know if it's intentional or not, but there is a Gothic feeling here that enhances everything. It's the night, the town is surrounded by forest, and a lot of action happens on the cemetery and the church. And if it's an action / thriller movie, actually, some shoots reminds me of the best horror movies.

Then, i found all the characters very attractive: you either care for them or despise them at once. And, they aren't one-sided characters because along the movie, their polarity changes: good guys become bad, and bad guys become good. Thus, it is very interesting to see that and the cast does have mention because they make that happen. As a fan of Minnie, i found that she has truly something because she is 100% believable in this action / comedy part whereas other actress would have failed.

I never heard of the director before but he knows how to deliver great sequences: the opening credits give the mood for the entire movie and you will find all the threats from flooding.

In conclusion, this upside down "Abyss" is an excellent tale and if you can find it, dive in it !
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10/10
Hard Rain!
Movie Nuttball29 December 2003
Hard Rain is a dandy of an action film! Morgan Freeman, Christian Slater, Minnie Driver and especially Randy Quaid were all very good! Edward Asner, Ray Baker, and Betty White were good! Cool action! Beautiful rain and lighting! Great music by Christopher Young! Hard Rain is a must see! Strongly recommended!
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10/10
great action movie with great special effects!!
Doc_Who28 September 1999
This movie is about a truck been robbed during a flood. The drivers are played Christian Slater and Edward Asner. Morgan Freeman wants the money. Both Slater and Freeman play cat and mouse though out the movie. Also the local sheriff get word of the money. Eventually it ends up in all out war. While all this going on, the local dam is about to burst. The special effects are great. The action is none stop. Betty White and some one else stars as two people who stayed behind during the flood. This movie is great if you like action movies,lots of special effects. Overall, it a great action with a fast plot and loads of fun!!This movie was written by Graham Yost(writer of Speed,Chill Factor, and Broken Arrow). I also forget to mention that it's raining during the whole movie!!
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5/10
What the hell is Morgan Freeman doing in this?!
nalobcram19 January 2002
The legendary film critic Pauline Kael (who passed on last summer) asked, "Is there a better working actor in America than Morgan Freeman?" (paraphrasing). Mr. Freeman in every role (even this one) is so commanding, believable with one of the best voices around...I just don't know why he keeps wasting his time on junk like this! Does he really need the money?

"Hard Rain" does have an excellent cast and some impressive set designs and effects. But it is so horribly written and cliché ridden it's distressing to see such a cast and budget wasted! When this film came out, Norm McDonald of SNL during the "Weekend Update" announced: "Christian Slater was temporarily released from prison so he could attend the premiere of his new film, "Hard Rain". After the first ten minutes, he was escorted back to jail." (!) In fairness, "Hard Rain" isn't THAT bad, but close enough.

Final rating: 5/10 A standard movie. You can watch it once, but then move on with your life."

(Trivia: The trailer for this film was released when "Titanic" first came out in December/January of 1997/1998. It was good, but it didn't help this film at the box office.)
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Architectural Water
tedg1 March 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

If I were to imagine the perfect film, the one that would be at the top of the `most important' lists, one quality it is likely to have is some new cinematic grammar for space using water.

The thing that makes film unique is the way it can take your mind to unfamiliar worlds. This is through the eye, and for the result to qualify as a world, it has to have some architectural substance. Perhaps since `Abyss,' the film world has been aware of the challenge and promise that water presents. We've seen some glimpses of the possibilities: the underwater world of `In Dreams,' and the maze of `Alien Resurrection.' `Titanic's' success in my mind was largely because Cameron grazed the possibilities.

At some point, someone will create a visual grammar for this, as Welles did for static architecture, and Luhrmann did for the dynamic case. And then we will be a wholly different people, with somewhat expanded conceptual reasoning ability. But until then, we have the attempts.

`Hard Rain' shoots high. It was conceived with an eye toward finding a next generation formula and failed because of a simple lack of adventure. Too bad, because the safe approach doomed the picture. Better to have risked more.

What is your guess about what would be the breakthough? My guess is that some narrative device will give the vocabulary a hook, like `noir' did for architectural films. It probably will be in the thriller category, because that mode can afford the talent and computer help that will be required. It will probably focus a lot on foam at the edges and have a two-dimensional quality, like Chinese paintings. It will probably have subliminal color, like the bazillions of microscopic colors that make up the white of snow (or the colors in 12th century cathedral glass).

It will probably have a fluid, non-human camera derived from the more adventuresome ideas of de Palma, possibly with perceptual frame bleeds like `In the Mood for Love.' The editing will be a whole new deal, mostly rhythmic with some splashes in the face. Darks and lights will alternate in unfamiliar ways. Lenses will extend into the environment. A new style of acting will emerge, more capricious and dynamically focused.

And then someone will make this film right, or something like it. And we'll be as shocked in comparison as we are now with Sean Penn compared to John Wayne.
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8/10
Black Knight Offers Salvation
pacieterra-126 November 2006
With knowledge of the horrible effects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans in 2005 and the Sotheast Asian tsunami, this film offers one an insight, (although, mostly computer-generated effects), as to what floods can do to a town and its residents. The premise of the film, of an attempted hijacking of an armored truck in a levee-flooded Indiana city, with guards played by Ed Asner and Christian Slater, adds to the terror and trauma of all the related characters. Betty White is particularly dotty and crazy as an elderly homeowner, protecting and holding on to a sinking ship of a home. Morgan Freeman, in one of his rare roles as a bad guy, shines through as the Black Knight, who overcomes the conniving, murderous Randy Quaid. Christian Slater,(who, also, produced this film), offers a believable young guard beset with conflicting loyalties toward his job, his morality, and relationship to a soggy Minnie Driver. She has the least to offer in this film, but soldiers on, as distaff diversion.This is an interesting film due to its archetype characters, and the spectacular floodings of broken levees and dams. Overall, however, the storyline is rather weak, and one becomes overwhelmed with water,water everywhere!
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No More Water Movies
radioriot10 March 2006
First, I too am from Huntingburg, IN where this Disaster (movie) was shot. I was born there and moved away when I was 10 in 1968. But, I still live near it and go through Huntingburg from time to time. It was cool to see my old hometown's downtown... it looks just like, no movie tricks... minus the sandbags, and the stupid statue. The sandbags actually held the water in the downtown, since it is built on a hill. Now as for the movie... disaster is the correct word. It started off good... maybe a bit too fast, not enough character development. Then it got improbable ... then downright dumb. The town is under 10 feet of water and the power is still on??? Looks like another FEMA mess-up NO National Guard and only 4 cops? But mostly, people don't wanna pay good money to see waterlogged movies, water scares a lot of people. Remember Waterworld? Don't they test these things first before spending $70 mil. And this one was at night! The acting is good, the script half good... the premise no good! Nothing about this movie makes sense. But it was cool to see my old hometown in the movies! "A League of Their Own" involved both my old hometown (Huntingburg) and my current hometown (Evansville, IN) and was a much better movie. I was away and missed the filming of both movies :( So if you're looking to film a new movie, both town are still available and now, so am I.
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1/10
An insult to disaster movies.
John Hughes20 December 2006
I tried to watch this film without counting the inconsistencies but gave up on the whole contrived mess after about 45 minutes. So, here we go; Why did the bank decide to move the cash on such a night? Didn't they read the weather forecast? Do whole populations in America leave town without any kind of security and how come they saw the weather forecast but the National Guard didn't? Why was every light in town left on? How did the gang know about the movement of cash but the police didn't? Why did the security guards get lost so quickly? Why was a psychopath included in the gang? How did the gang know in which direction the guard had gone? How did such a moron get a job as a deputy? Surely the guard would be required to carry his I.D. at all times? Are all jails in America so easy to get into? Do all female art restorers carry a Swiss army knife? How come all the doors inside the college were open, making it convenient for a speedboat chase, but the emergency panic-bar ones were locked? How did the water rise so fast and so selectively without flowing and how did it stay so clean? Why didn't Morgan Freeman and Christian Slater read the scripts before getting involved with this turkey? I know the makers of this film didn't want it to be just another disaster movie but instead they have churned out a disaster of a movie.
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5/10
An Anemic Armored Car Robbery Caper
zardoz-1315 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Scriptwriter Graham Yost had been so busy churning out tough-guy actioneers that it seemed only a matter of time before his creativity curdled. His previous efforts included a pair of trigger-happy John Woo shoot'em-ups "Hard Target" and "Broken Arrow" along with Jan De Bont's careening epic "Speed." Yost's uncredited contribution to the sloppy Howie Long potboiler "Firestorm" didn't change anything, but the prolific scribe appears really to have deep-sixed himself with the weather-beaten Morgan Freeman & Christian Slater thriller "Hard Rain," director Michael Salomon's half-drenched drama about an armored car heist. The bad scenes outnumber the good, and the characters wander around in a moral morass far too long before they expose their villainous or heroic characteristics.

A rookie armored car guard, Tom (Christian Slater), has resigned from his construction job to work with his Uncle Charlie (Ed Asner of TV's "Lou Grant"). As the film unfolds, Tom and Charlie are hauling about $3-million in cold, hard cash from a Midwestern bank that flood waters are about submerge. As they try to leave town, they get stuck, and the flood rises over their ankles in the cab. Charlie radios the National Guard, and they both sit on the loot.

About that time, a band of thieves led by Jim (Morgan Freeman) show up. One of the villains, Kenny (Michael Goorjian) cuts loose, and they shoot it out. The scene is effective as well as eerie, with creepy spotlights blazing white-hot holes in the night skies. Goorjian gives a terrific performance as an idiot henchman who Jim has brought along because Jim promised his father he'd care of Kenny. Anyway, Charlie dies from a bullet wound, but Tom escapes. Resourceful guy that he is, Tom drags off the bags of the loot. The villains are always several steps behind the heroes and heroines in "Hard Rain" in hot (or as the case is 'wet') pursuit.

Meanwhile, the sheriff (Randy Quaid) has been evacuating the flooded town. It seems that he is serving out his last two weeks. Everybody believes the mayor sabotaged his re-election bid, because the sheriff had been in office too long, twenty years too long. The sheriff tries to persuade an elderly couple, Henry (Richard Dysart) and Doreen (Betty White), to clear out of town before they drown. They're determined to safeguard their store, so they are laying out bear traps when the sheriff intervenes. Dysart and White dredge up the only humor in the film as an incredibly grumpy couple. The only time you hear the "f--k" word in "Hard Rain" is as Henry reprimands Doreen for her outrageously bitchy behavior. TV's "Golden Girl" White steals every scene as the suspicious, unrelenting spouse.

"Hard Rain" broadly resembles "Broken Arrow." Substitute the stealth jet with an armored car along with John Travolta's thief of nukes with Uncle Charlie's scheme to steal the loot, and you have a clever but contrived variation. Add to the formula a heroine along the lines of the Samantha Mathis park ranger character, and you get Minnie Driver. She's cast as an expert who restores stained glass church windows. She is so committed to preserving her stain-glass handiwork that she is willing to risk death by drowning.

Basically, "Hard Rain" feels like a cold shower. Yost's uneven script appears to be the chief culprit. He swamps it with too many unlikely situations and some characters get way out of line. The concept of staging a heist during a devastating deluge must have seemed a sure-fire idea when the producers pitched the premise. Indeed, the Yost script opens with an interesting predicament. Before "Hard Rain" lets up, you'll feel tired of wading through yet another undistinguished semi-disaster/semi-crime caper flick. Altogether, "Hard Rain" showers its audiences with a wishy washy saga, suspicious characters, and a muddled sense of morality that rivals the Wesley Snipes & Woody Harrelson opus "Money Train."

The best parts of "Hard Rain" are the action scenes. When guns are fired, the cameras shudder to heighten the violence. The gunshots burst in your ears like mortar shells. The jet-ski scene in the high school is fun. Obviously, the filmmakers are playing on the secret desire some moviegoers may harbor about a perverse wish to trash the halls of their high school. The sight of power boats crashing through stained glass windows and shattering them is rather exciting, too.

"Hard Rain" bristles with a motley crew of characters. Nobody seems to represent who they really are. Yost exploits the natural disaster to bring out either the good or the bad in everybody. Randy Quaid's sheriff exemplifies this as a veteran lawman that crosses over the line after two decades of wearing a badge. Morgan Freeman presents even a better example. He gives a deep, soulful performance, too, in a role he is clearly above in what he brings to what it lacks. Freeman's Jim is an honorable thief. He neither triggered the accidental shoot-out that cost Uncle Charlie his life nor did he abandon the cretinous Kenny whose welfare he had been entrusted, but to say more would ruin the resolution.

Former photographer Michael Salomon keeps the pace trim with several vigorous, full-throttled, hell-bent action sequences. Nevertheless, he cannot rinse a script soaked with clichés. Initially, "Hard Rain" qualifies as a modern day version of Sergio Leone's classic Spaghetti western "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly." Tom hides the loot in a cemetery before Karen clobbers him and lands him in jail. The sheriff grows greedy and decides to split the $3-million booty among his deputies while Jim pursues Tom. Moreover, Jim and Tom form an uneasy alliance against the lawmen when it's clear the sheriff has decided that they must die.

If anybody in "Hard Rain" deserves kudos, production designer J. Michael Riva certainly does. Riva and his associates used a large, Palmdale, California, aircraft hanger where B-1 bombers were assembled to photograph the action.
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6/10
Waterlogged in Indiana
jotix10026 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Mikael Salomon, a Danish director that has established himself in America, has worked extensively on television. With "Hard Rain" he shows a knack for presenting this action thriller seen in a different way. The result is a film that will please his audience because Mr. Salomon knows where to take his viewers. The film is greatly helped by the musical score of Christopher Young and the camera work of Peter Menzies, who has done wonders to bring us closer to all the action.

"Hard Rain" casting was interesting. Morgan Freeman plays a hard criminal who is after all the money that two security guards are taking to a safe place because the imminent danger of the raising water caused by the pounding rain and the water reserves of the town. Christian Slater proves to be a good choice for the guard who knows how to deal with the bandits and the crooked police in town who wants to steal the money. Randy Quaid is seen as the chief of police, a man who has a different idea to get his hands on the three million dollars that are hidden. Minnie Driver, Ed Asner, Dann Florek, and especially Betty White and Richard Dysart, who appear as an older couple, the Sears, who have dealt with flooding in the town before, are fine in their supporting roles.

This is a film for action movie fans, who will enjoy director Salomon's take on the story.
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5/10
Is it really THAT bad?
Michael DeZubiria6 August 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Well, yes. The curious thing about Hard Rain is that it's so well presented but at the same time it's so superficial and false. I have to admit that I was impressed with the stormy, rainy atmosphere, but at the same time I was struck by how obvious is always was that the whole thing was a setup. I guess part of it may be because some of the flood scenes were filmed on a part of Universal Studios that you go right through when you take the tram tour, and other parts were clearly filmed in that big water tank with the false background that's right near the Psycho house (at least it was when I last went on that tour, which was regrettably sometime in the early 1990s), but I can't blame the fakeness in its entirety just on the fact that some of the sets are personally familiar to anyone who has been on the tram tour at Universal Studios in Hollywood.

There is an interesting paradox about Hard Rain, in that it is peppered with capable and even great actors (as in the case of Morgan Freeman), but it still comes off as contrived and unreal. Christian Slater is not the most beloved actor in the world, but I have an immutable liking for him, probably just because he was part of the brilliant Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Minnie Driver has delivered some excellent performances in some excellent movies, although none that really struck my interest. Morgan Freeman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors working today, which is why it's strange that even his enormous presence wasn't able to generate more interest in this movie. And Randy Quaid, while one of my personal favorite comedic actors (mostly due to his absolute hilarity is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation), was badly miscast from the beginning.

What you have in Hard Rain is a flooded town due to excessive rain and an old and weak dam that periodically has to release more and more water to avoid overflowing, each time flooding the town more and more. The movie starts off with the town being evacuated (which is shown in a total of two or three cars led down a flooded street) and a couple of armored car drivers picking up all of the money from the town bank. It's interesting to consider what made director Mikael Salomon feel it necessary to present this routine pickup as a robbery (even going so far as to have the bank manager nervously throwing stacks of money into a bag and saying he's going as fast as he can) and then turn right around and show that it's a perfectly normal event. What you have here in the first few minutes of the movie is a scene that builds false suspense and then cops out, much like the rest of the movie. We're already being set up for disaster, and it has nothing to do with a flood.

(spoilers)

The movie is the presentation of a flooded and therefore deserted town and a subsequent robbery attempt, with all of the logical inconsistencies that that might imply. The struggle between the good guys and the bad guys goes on for way too long, for one thing. It's just too much to ask us to believe that no one is coming to help just because the guy up on the dam is not calling for help and Charlie turned out to be in on it from the beginning. It's like the movie takes place in its own little world, completely cut off from the rest of the world because the story finds that necessary. Sort of like the RoboCop movies, to some extent.

On the other hand, there is an undeniable element of entertainment that comes along with the movie, despite its almost complete lack of any true possession of realism. It's a movie that is fun to watch but becomes bad the more you think about it, and I can tell this mostly because as I write this review, my opinion of the film steadily grows lower and lower. It's really sad that the movie had so many good actors in it but still fell flat. There are, of course, a few stock characters, such as the bad guy's idiot sidekick and the nervous old man and his wife (an interaction between whom comes off as one of the most amusing scenes in the film), and this may be the root of the film's downfall. Even the good actors and the great actor in the film were all playing one-dimensional characters.

Morgan Freeman was the typical aging thief who only wanted to steal enough money to escape all of this nonsense, Randy Quaid delivers a terribly unfitting performance as the frustrated sheriff who goes bad after losing reelection, Christian Slater is the lone hero who tries to save the day, and Minnie Driver is the obligatory love interest. Nothing very exciting here, not even when Jim, Morgan Freeman's character, winds up on Tom's (Christian Slater) side near the end is there enough interest generated in the plot to make up for its routine presentation, the manufactured sets, and the tedious dialogue.

I worked at a video store in Fresno, California when this movie was released, and I remember that it was enormously popular during the first few weeks that it was released, just like Sphere. It was clearly one of the more highly anticipated films of 1998, which was probably why it was so popular when it was released on video, but this also reflects the quality of the film. It is an entertaining film to some extent, but also like Sphere, is goes steadily downhill after a relatively interesting introduction, and the more you think about the movie itself, the less impressive it becomes.
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Hard hitting action but nothing more.
ChoiBaby24 February 1999
HARD RAIN features a great premise. Mixing the disaster and standard shoot 'em up genres are aptly deployed to create a decent thriller. Also, the concept of using mother nature as an adversary along with the standard villains is a riveting change of pace as well. This addition of mother nature as a formidable obstacle, manifested in the shape of a violent deluge, adds noteworthy suspense to a typical action flick. The thrill to the minute jet-ski chases are breathtaking, and the action in HARD RAIN moves at an adrenalin rush with nicely photographed moments of excitement. HARD RAIN is a satisfactory crafted movie with a good cast and some marvelously engaging action sequences.

HARD RAIN does not quite surface even with a promising concept. The most evincing frailty with HARD RAIN is that this film could have been a better movie. The basis for this movie is terrific, but the product of this film, even with all the apparently "right" ingredients concocted is not on the money. For one, the performances in HARD RAIN were unbelievable. Morgan Freeman lacked both a cunning and sinister personality as the antagonist. Christian Slater is alright as the protagonist for this water logged tale, but many of the decisions he makes seem far fetched. His failed wisecracks are also out of place! Randy Quaid's mood swings as the psychotic Sheriff were just as unpredictable as the film's abrupt turn of events. Minnie Driver had a memorable role as a tough, yet sweet-natured partner for Slater. To be fair, the performances were not dynamic, but passable. The special effects though, of course steal the show!

The theme about greediness and obsession for the $3 million dollars is an interesting subtext in HARD RAIN. By the climax of this movie, when everybody involved in the shoot-out becomes ravenous for the elusive money, the dilemma submerges into deep water. HARD RAIN just wanted to show that money fuels inhibitions and corrupts otherwise intrinsically good people into selfish, cruel savages. Even the heroes can in turn succumb to their dark desires...

As a whole, HARD RAIN had potential and should have done better. The special effects are incredible, yet some of the cliffhangers in this film appear to be both implausible and unconvincing. The characters in this film, though sympathetic, are improbable and sometimes inept in their proper roles.

HARD RAIN was not rubbish, but too many fallacies hurt an almost spectacular water show. A fun film to watch, perhaps. Briskly directed, definitely. Entertaining and visually unforgettable, yes. Enjoyable with magnificently stylized choreography, maybe. Worthwhile, innovative and prepossessing...no. Sorry, try again.

RATING: ** out of ****.
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1/10
Another Sad Example Of How Low Actors Can Go
ccthemovieman-12 April 2007
What a profane film this is! For some reason, maybe because Morgan Freeman starred in it, but I didn't expect it to be this bad. I had also forgotten how much of a bitter, old and profane man Ed Asner has become and this role fit him, unfortunately. "Lou Grant," he ain't, anymore.

What's even more disgusting is Bette White in here. Yes, the "Golden Girl" and "Mary Tyler Moore Show" favorite, talks like a scumbag in here, too. It just shows you these classic-era actors are no morally better than the younger people of today. The only difference is that the veterans weren't allowed to swear. If had been able to, well, this film is an example of what we would have heard.

The language, which including six usages of the Lord's name in vain in the first 15 minutes, was too unappealing for me. The constant rain in this also helped the dreary atmosphere. Dreary, depressing, too profane with unlikeable characters. Yeah, I can see why this movie bombed at the box office.
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6/10
Not exactly dry
Alex Brown14 July 2001
It's wet, damn wet [Robin Williams - Good Morning Vietnam] one could say. Let's get the facts straight before we hit the review - Minnie Driver is a really bad actress, Christian Slater isn't much better and Morgan Freeman plays the same character in every film [although he is very good at it].

Actually, Freeman as a bad guy who is only interested in the money is refreshingly different from the norm, although of course he's not that transparent. Being Hollywood you can work out the rest yourself. Slater is a security guard who is tied up in the great crime, and there's a big flood.

That's about it really, but the effects were good.
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4/10
How do films like this get made and whose job is it to stop them?
heeryis22 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I really hated this film. It's non stop action all the way through and the makers assumed that this would make the film exciting. It's quite the contrary. People get shot all the time but usually aren't dead. The damn breaks because and I quote "it was an old damn". eh? What kind of engineering is that? Someone sets fire to the church roof with a bottle of whiskey even though it hasn't stopped raining in hours? Generally, it's the most irritating and tiresome bore fest imaginable. I've given it four out of ten because of the technical quality - imagine the difficulty of filming virtually every seen on or in water. If someone tells you this is there favourite film, looked for webbed feet and gills and then run.
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