I’m not really a fan of Michael Douglas. He’s always playing some rich asshole, like he even revels in the type of role. Wall St, Wall St again, The Game, A Perfect Murder, Don’t say a Word, Disclosure. In all of these movies he’s a pompous bastard, even as a victim. The one time he does play a white collar worker (God forbid he plays a blue-collar worker) gone nuts, it’s hard not to root for even Michael Douglas.
There’s a good story in there, Douglas is ‘over educated, under-skilled’ and since the Cold War has ended, he’s become obsolete. Yes, it’s (kinda) neat commentary, but if you say that’s why you’re a fan of this movie, you’re a liar. Duvall the easy-going nemesis is hot on his trail. Guess what? Duvall plays – you guessed it, Robert Duvall! But Duvall is not why people enjoy this film either, this is a joyride disguised as a psychological thriller.
I mean, seriously, who gives a shit what drove D-Fens nuts. Let’s not get pretentious and try to over analyse motives or try to profile the man. We all get pissed and stressed and there’s always certain elements of society who just don’t help and irritate the fuck out of us. The main selling point of this movie is how D-Fens lets rip and acts out our fantasies on-screen. Stuck in traffic? Just walk away. The asshole talking shit from the other car? Just knock him out. Shit, just pull a TEC-9 on those greasy teens serving fast food.
Schumacher knew the deal, that’s why there’s plenty of these incidents coming non-stop. I love how D-Fens’ arsenal grows with each confrontation too. He starts out with a baseball bat and ends up with a LAW rocket launcher (“The realll fucking thinnggg, heat-seaker it’s fucking disposable”). Although I’m not sure the ‘real fucking thing’ is actually guidance-capable. Check out the nod to Beverly Hills Cop II by the way with that too.
But it’s not just scumbag gangbangers who feel the wrath of the nut. D-Fens has room to give old millionaire bastards wearing ‘stupid little hats’ a lesson on humility too and, of course, a sawn-off Remington will always help get your point across. It’s jam packed with one-liners and even half-liners too: “I don’t like men who don’t curse. Not one fuck, or shit” This is a great movie and again, it’s wise enough to concentrate on what works and let the subtext do its own thing. But I can’t help but feel it would’ve been even better with someone else as D-Fens. I thought, what about Nicolas Cage? That guy would’ve eaten this thing up – maybe trolling too hard even for Cage. But the story has an older obsolete Cold War weapons engineer. I would’ve cast Michael Keaton. It’s a role almost written for him. It would’ve just worked better but honestly, it’s more than fine with Douglas, his best role for sure.
I guess they’ll remake this someday, especially with the current economic climate. Would it work? Probably not.