If It Were Only Blown Away
Directed by Stephen Hopkins
at local theaters
"Blown Away" is the single worst film I have ever seen in a theatre. It's true that even lesser works such as "The Cutting Edge" have been rented and watched in my presence. And since I have only been on the planet 20 years, so I will probably see worse, barring a tragic dismemberment of director Stephen Hopkins, which if you are unlucky enough to see "Blown Away," you will learn is a consummation devoutly to be wished.
The only thing that is worse then the simple, predictable yet still nauseating ending of this film is the beginning because it raises a number of false hopes, such that Jeff Bridges reads his scripts, that Tommy Lee Jones will get some help, that you haven't just wasted $7.50 and two hours of your life. These hopes, you find out very quickly, are just that--false.
The plot, after being transferred from crayon on lined elementary school paper to disaster on celluloid by director Stephen Hopkins looks something like this: Jack Dove (Bridges) and Ryan Garrity (Jones) were IRA buddies. Garrity makes Dove unwittingly blow up a bunch of Brits and his girlfriend, who is also Garrity's little sister. Garrity goes to jail Dove heads for the Hub with a new identity courtesy of the British, who he helped in nailing Garrity.
But Garrity breaks out of prison (this is the high point of the film, coming at roughly four minutes in) and makes for Beantown to get Dove, who has since landed a job on the Boston Bomb Squad and met a female violinist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra and her little daughter. He loves her, so he decides to get out of the Bomb Squad. The night of the wedding, Garrity kills another member of the bomb squad, and lo and behold, Dove is back on the case. Garrity nukes a couple more squad members, Dove saves a couple, and then Dove hunts Garrity down and blows him up.
But wait, what about the wife and cute little girl? Their jeep has been rigged with a bomb that is set go off exactly four weeks after "Speed" opens. That's right, the same idea (slow down and you blow up) that is driving the hit movie "Speed" has been transplanted into the engine of Dove's wife for the big finale chase scene. it's ironic that a movie that is this groundbreakingly bad ends up mirroring another action film in its conclusion.
It's easy to see how Dove fit in so well in America, Bridges can't affect and Irish accent to save his life. One does wonder why he chose Boston to settle in, for he can't do that accent either. He is addled with an impossible script but still does his part, through over-done winces and cries of anguish, to take this show to new lows it works.
Jones is passable in a evil, juicy, bombtoting role that would be hard to screw up. He does instill a sense of fear in the audience, although it may be born out of sympathy for his career direction after "Blown Away" rather than actual terror.
Lloyd Bridges also stars as Max, Dove's uncle. He actually says things like "the Old country" and no joke, "Arrrrr!" Most people think that Lloyd Bridges can only do comedys about airplanes. Most people are right.
The only redeeming feature of this film, besides some nice footage of Boston, is the special effects, which are excellent at times. The "bouncing Betty" mine shots and the Boston Police truck getting blown up outside the Boston Public Library are two great sequences. And the final explosion is one of the largest this reviewer has ever seen. It actually smashed windows on the waterfront last year during filming.
But three explosions do not a movie make. The only level on which this film succeeds is pure comedy. The story is preposterous, the acting is laughable, and the joke is on you.