Although the film was conceived of as an indie drama, when producer Elie Samaha took control of the film, he attempted to change the film to fit the action genre. Samaha recut the film against the wishes of the director and cast. This included shooting new action scenes. Since Val Kilmer refused to shoot these new scenes, Samaha used a stunt double to play the part of Kilmer. There are now two versions of the film: The director's cut (a quiet, character-based drama intended for film festivals like Sundance), and Samaha's action-based cut, intended for a video release in Eastern Europe. See more »
Most readily apparent during close ups of Johnny inserting coins into the pay phone, beginning with the phone call that Johnny makes to Manny to warn him, and subsequent call, the type of pay phone Johnny is using, changes repeatedly from one that has the coin slot towards the left side and the coin return lever to the right side, to the type that has the coin slot to the extreme right and the return lever towards the center and back again. See more »
Val Kilmer's own production company was somehow responsible for this film. It is supposedly some kind of drama synthesized with an action film but misses the mark due to the dramatic elements being the most over-used clichés of the 'redeemed con turned family man' genre. Important to note, here in Australia, (where they must take us for idiots), this film has on its cover a picture of Val standing tall against a blood red background and holding two .45 pistols and beside the phrase, 'A Game of Life and Death'. Which bit was of the film was that? Was it the part where the man feeds the ducks? Or was it the fact that the majority of the 'action', (if you can call someone making 28 phone calls 'action') occurring beside a lake which the characters could perilously fall into and perhaps drown? Maybe they might catch something from all the pollution in the water? That might be fatal and constitute elements of 'life and death'. Who knows? The 'action' in this film substantiates to about 15% of the total, if that. I don't mind it being a drama, but it's downright dishonest to palm this off as a gritty edge of your seat 'action' film and then have the majority of the story center around a day in the park, which is what it really is. There were no .45 caliber guns of the type shown on the cover used at any point in this film by the character Val portrays. Perhaps they substituted this imaginatively suggestive cover because they realized pretty quickly after putting it in front of a test audience that if they used a shot of the man feeding the ducks on the cover with Val together with his eight year old on-again-off-again pal smiling in the distance whilst peddle boating across the lake in the sunshine then people might get a whiff and not rent it. Here in Australia that fake cover fully constitutes false advertising as per the 1972 Trade Practises Act section 40 and on Monday I'm going to personally call the Office of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and make a complaint about that as it breaches the law. At one point in the film the blood smudge on Val's cheek switches sides (and during a close up, if you can believe they would miss such a glaring error). (Don't think the blood smear indicates any type of 'action' having occurred either.) They even spelled 'gangster' on the cover with two 'n's! To me this indicates that the production crew and or anyone else involved with this film weren't looking too closely at the final edit. Maybe they couldn't wait to get rid of it. I'm pretty sure no one was looking too closely, and after watching it I will advise anyone, neither should you.
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