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Terminal Velocity

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: Terminal Velocity

Starring: Charlie Sheen, Nastassja Kinski
Director: Deran Sarafian
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 102 Minutes
Release Date: September 1994
Genres: Action, Suspense

*Also starring: James Gandolfini, Christopher McDonald, Melvin Van Peebles, Gary Bullock, Hans R. Howes

Review by Dragan Antulov
1 star out of 4

The outcome of the latest bloodbath in Balkans would probably look like the ultimate humiliation for many Russians. But, actually, the worst humilitation for that former superpower lies not in the field of international politics, but in the field of popular entertainment. Once mighty empire is reduced to the source of stereotyped villains and cheesy plotlines for uninspired and unoriginal Hollywood filmmakers. One of such examples is TERMINAL VELOCITY, 1994 action thriller by Deran Sarafian.

The movie protagonist is Ditch Brodie (played by Charlie Sheen), maverick skydiving instructor who takes a flight one day in order to give parachuting lessons to beautiful stranger named Chris Morrow (Nastassja Kinski). During the flight, he flirts with her, but simple glancing away is enough for her to disappear from plane. The body is found on the ground, but Ditch is convinced that he had put her safety on. Faced with the manslaughter charges, he begins investigation of his own that would lead him to Chris, who seems to be alive and well. But it doesn't seem that it would be for long, because both of them are involved in conspiracy involving smuggling gold, and former KGB operatives who want to overthrow Russian government and restore Communism.

To be frank, I didn't expect much from this film yet I was disappointed. It wasn't the preposterous formulaic plot (certain mutant crossbreed between NORTH-NORTHWEST and Jan de Bont's SPEED), nor the cardboard characters the viewers don't care for. It wasn't even the not so original directing (one particular action scene is actually literally borrowed by Renny Harlin's DIE HARD 2). It wasn't Charlie Sheen, whose charisma and couple of wisecracking lines actually saved this film, turning it into unintentional comedy. The biggest disappointment was Nastassja Kinski, who obviously chose wrong film for her great comeback into the movie industry. Although she looks charming, she is anything but believable as tough intelligence operative, Russian to make things even more interesting. Villains are more convincing, as usual, although the main ones - played by James Gandolfini and Christopher MacDonald - doesn't look like Russian at all. However, although definitely and justifiably forgettable, TERMINAL VELOCITY is a film that can provide some entertainment for not very demanding audience.

Copyright 1999 Dragan Antulov

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