Monday, May 01, 2006


Me watching a Jerry Bruckheimer flick and still enjoying it? Nah, it can't be possible!

But it is. Feeling slightly odd and dizzy, I decided to rest all morning and watched an old VHS tape of John Flynn's Defiance (1980), an early Bruckheimer production. In this, the producer hadn't yet "gone Bruckheimer" and it's quite non-melodramatic for him. There is action (even one car explosion), but violence is more hinted at than shown. And none of it is funny - it's more clumsy than fast and furious, like I suppose violence would be in real life. The story about a reluctant hero ending up cleaning the streets is a bit clichéd, but the film is altogether realistic and grim and Flynn directs crisply. It's interesting also in racial matters. The hero is mixed up with a Jewish girl, and the gangs, both baddies and goodies, are all interracial. The fact that the real hero is a Caucasian and the real baddie is a Latin doesn't really ruin this.

I also liked Flynn's later Best Seller (1987), with Brian Dennehy and James Woods. Wonder what happened to the guy. It seems he's done mainly straight-to-video flicks after specializing in well-made and interesting action films.

PS. Looking up Bruckheimer's filmography, I notice that he also produced Farewell, My Lovely (1975) with Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe. He can't be all bad, you know?

Edit: I forgot to note that the Finnish VHS copy of the film was called New Yorkin kostaja. Even in the opening credits it's called New York Revenge, not Defiance. Imdb doesn't recognize the alternate title. Maybe it was a later video release with a spiced-up name - perhaps the film was no hit in the original theater release. It wouldn't be any wonder, you know, with so little action.

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