REVIEW: Hard Rain (1998) | ManlyMovie

REVIEW: Hard Rain (1998)


Runtime: 97 Mins
Rated: R
What To Expect: Underrated oldschool action, one of the last of the 1990s

Hard Rain is a heist movie.  And that makes it cool.  And it’s a unique heist movie, it takes place in a flooded town, something that is exploited to the full.  Outside Band of Brothers, the director never really made a name for himself.  But that doesn’t matter, he had an opportunity in Hard Rain in the water-bound gimmick and for the most part succeeded.  In some ways it’s the antithesis of Costner’s bloated WaterWorld, because it doesn’t overstretch itself with ridiculous crap.  Like the older Die Hards, Hard Rain has a keen sense of avoiding the old problem of  “jumping the Shark”. Jetskis through the corridors of a flooded highschool?  It immediately sells itself, it’s not crazy because you know you’d do it if you had the chance.  Yup, that’ll work.

Mark Rolston should be mentioned first, before I forget.  Mark Rolston, you say?  Who is he?  Rolston is a good supporting actor for ballsy action movies who all too often fell under the radar.  Better known as Private 1st Class Drake in Aliens, but also starring in Lethal Weapon 2, RoboCop 2, Eraser and Daylight too.  Then there’s Christian Slater, who I like, more recently returning to form in Bullet to the Head.  The movie’s main problem is Morgan Freeman.  He too often plays the nice guy, and here he had a chance to pull a Simon Gruber.  And for a minute at the start, he’s a fucking General, a leader.  But, either he or the producers just couldn’t help his big ol’ heart coming through.  Thankfully, Rand Quaid to the rescue.  He’s much better at this sort of thing.

And this is mostly why this movie is manly.  Hard Rain doesn’t really belong in 1998.  It’s a straggler, one of the last of its kind that got released in an increasingly pussified 90’s.  It was even due to be directed by John Woo.  Wonder what happened there.  Anyway, it’s not a particularly ‘Hard’ movie, although the violence does up towards the ending, coincidentally with Randy Quaid and his men going on a gun-toting rampage.  Our old friend the squib makes a welcome return.  A year later, movies like this basically went out of business with the arrival of The Matrix. which changed the face of the action genre.  We never really seen Christian Slater again either.  A toast to Hard Rain.  Is it really the last 80/90’s violent actioner?

Oh, and the soundtrack is fucking beastly.  Makes me wanna go and rob something.