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As for the acting in the film, again, not the best, but not the worst. Bill Pullman plays `Conner Gallagher' the rough around the edges body guard, and Lena Olin plays `Faith Mattis' the federal judge Gallagher is assigned to protect. Both Pullman and Olin turn in descent performances. As for the rest of the cast, well, the acting goes steadily down hill form there. As with any B-movie like Ignition, checking your sense of reality at the door helps one enjoy the movie. However with some B-flicks, no amount of imagination can make the movie watchable. Ignition is certainly at least one cut above that kind of movie. And, in fact, it might even be a bit better than that.
Over all, if you don't have anything better to do, watch it. You might like it.
Well directed, produced and acted and INTELLIGENT (a rare commodity these days).
It's not the best movie I've ever seen, but it's a better quality movie than most of the so-called "block-busters" I've seen recently...
The presence of Bill Pullman made me overlook the Monday night slot on channel 5 usually a dumping ground for direct-to-video action movies with no names and no real value. When the film opens with a nicely washed out scene, I also ignored the clichés of the shoot-out and the predictable route it takes. However the next scene is 9 months later and Gallagher is "washed-up" but brought back into the fold and it was here that I realised this was only going one way. The film keeps the actual "plot" at bay for the majority of the running time and instead just keeps producing narrow misses and bangs along with some vague attempts at characterisation. When the true plot actually comes out, it is pretty poor and unconvincing with the ideas being as realistic as the shuttle backdrop.
The bangs are just wheeled out with little realism and they didn't engage me at all, while the characters aren't anything interesting or different. The film's mood swings around as well at times it wants to be serious but other times we have joking in the face of danger; the swings don't fit together that well and gives the film an unsure feel. The cast are caught up in this and it shows. Pullman tries to do something serious with the role but also ends up being a clichéd quipping action star; he never fitted into the genre and I couldn't shake the feeling that he is really better than this. Olin also seems ill at ease in it and comes across like she is trying to do something with nothing (and achieving nothing). Feore is a "rent-a-baddie" here and adds little value, while Kent and Harris are just henchmen to be knocked off after a bit of stand-offing. Lea and Ironside are familiar faces but add nothing more than that.
Overall this is an average thriller at best. All the clichés are there and are delivered without imagination or effort by a cast who mostly deserve to be in better stuff than this. No better or worse than a lot of the video thrillers doing the rounds as television filler but that isn't any sort of recommendation.
This little disaster probably resulted from 9-11. I get the impression that the project was halted halfway through and was just shoved out in this form.
No great loss. But it does have two interesting elements.
The first is Lena Olin. I think she is one of the most interesting woman in film. Some talent, deep training, cinematic poise. I appreciate actors who understand levels. She does, but doesn't quite have the chops to pull them off, so you can see in her eyes the intent. It is an exotic seduction.
The second is this director who seems to be on the "artistic" edge of TeeVee production. He does a lot of adventurous things with the camera for no apparent reason, but then sometimes it clicks. For instance, the opening sequence is pretty thrilling in a Karwai manner: all black and white except for red architectural elements. No angle natural, no perspective right angled, no movement of humans in any way related to the position of the camera. Again, the same thing when one witness is caught and killed by the mean old Army guys.
I get the impression that this could have been worth watching for these two elements of style if the project had been funded enough for someone to wrestle this director's impulses into shape.
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 4: Has some interesting elements.
Bill Pullman as James Bond! What's not to love? I give this film a "6" just for chutzpah.
The only thing missing was an evil man like Ernest Stavro Blofeld sitting in a big chair, stroking a cat.
For a refreshing change, Pullman is neither a loser at love nor a wacky genius. Instead, he is the standard issue law enforcement officer in disgrace. Busted down to U.S. Marshall (no disgrace in my book), he gets a baby-sitting job with a Federal judge.
It starts off like GUARDING TESS (1994) with Nicolas Cage and Shirley MacLaine. The guardee, a recent appointee to the bench played by Lena Olin, doesn't see a need for protection, and doesn't want Pullman around. But, conveniently, a car bomb near-miss endears him to her and now she is all in favor of his professional attentions.
It is at this point that we learn that the film will be faster paced than, but not as high in quality as, GUARDING TESS.
But soon, we find out it is not a "babysitting" film. It is a film about secrets, about military cover up. Will it be like THE PRESIDIO (1988) with Sean Connery and Meg Ryan; or more like THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER (1999) with John Travolta, Madeleine Stowe and James Cromwell? Well, you have to fork over to find out.
BUT WAIT. THERE'S MORE. After you have had your fill of incredible escapes, unbelievable revelations, reluctant patriotism, touching parenting, and the repeated overcoming of some of the world's nastiest criminals (our own armed forces) -- not to mention Annie Oakley marksmanship on the part of an untrained shooter -- you are then treated to still another kind of film FOR NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE.
This final transformation is what endeared this film to my heart: it turned into a Bond film. My lips are sealed but I will say that, for budget purposes, they skipped the usual downhill skiing scenes and the airboat races through the crowded harbor of Monaco. But you do get the rest of it.
I wish I could rate this an "8". If only there were separate scores for "fun" or "camp" ... ...
Conor Gallagher (Bill Pullman) is a U.S. Marshal with a checkered past. He was addicted to pills, involved in a deadly shootout that left 3 other Marshals dead, lost his marriage and hasn't seen his daughter in a year and a half. Despite all that, as well as being the sort of maniac who shoots his washing machine when it acts up, he's assigned to guard federal judge Faith Mattis (Lena Olin) after an attempt on her life. What Conor and Faith quickly get caught up in is a military scandal with a renegade witness and U.S. Army death squads running all over the place. After Conor is framed for beating up a crack whore, he and the judge go on the run to get to the bottom of a mystery that improbably turns into an attempted coup and what technically has to be the biggest "running away while something explodes behind you" scene in movie history.
There's no other way to put this except to be blunt. The biggest problem with Ignition is that Lena Olin looks way too old to be playing this part in this sort of film. She can still be sexy, just not as the lead female in an action flick. Yes, it wouldn't have made any sense to cast some hot 28 year old as a federal judge. That doesn't really matter in a story that's already asking you to believe the President of the United States travels in a motorcade consisting of two motorcycle cops and a few stretch limos; that has a group of military officers discuss treason like white guys at a country club making jokes about Jews; and has not one, not two, but three "running away while something explodes behind you" scenes. Casting Olin here is like making Helen Mirren the love interest in a Steven Seagal movie.
Olin's inappropriateness for this material actually makes you think they're trying to do something different. It causes Faith's quarrelsome relationship with Conor to look like something more than the tired, old act where the two leads drive each other crazy until they fall in love. Then they do fall in love and you realize it was just the same tired, old stuff.
Ignition also appears to be going a different way when it lets Conor have an entirely reasonable reaction to the discovery of the secret military plot. He doesn't want to do anything about it. He wants to let somebody else handle it because he's more concerned about his own personal situation. But then he abandons that surprisingly non-heroic stance for no apparent reason and starts doing the same stuff as every other action movie hero.
This movie also has too many characters and too much plot that just kills time until Ignition is long enough to qualify as a legitimate feature film. It's nice for a while to watch an action flick that's a bit more involved, but when you end up with two separate reluctant witnesses to the military plot and a main villain, the main villain's chief henchman, the chief henchman's sub-henchman and a bunch of cannon fodder, in addition to ex-spouses for both lead characters, it goes a step too far. It's all a bunch of manufactured nonsense to compensate for not having enough real story to last for 90 minutes.
This movie is well acted and well directed enough to be entertaining, if you can get past the fact that the main sex object of this melodrama looks like she's a member of AARP.