Director: John Badham
Starring: Mel Gibson, Goldie Hawn, David Carradine
You can't talk about Bird on a Wire without discussing the big names that make it up. John Badham was a hot director in the 70s and 80s, with movies like Bingo Long, Saturday Night Fever, WarGames, Short Circuit, Stakeout. Mel Gibson was in his prime, having made a name for himself with both the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon series. And of course Goldie Hawn, America's sweetheart, with roles in Private Benjamin, Wildcats, and Overboard. This was a film that just couldn't go wrong, a home run bound to make a ton of money, cashing in on the fame of its pieces. Well, it made money alright, and is now an iconic film of the era. But guess what; it doesn't stand the test of time, failing not only to be great but also to be remotely watchable.
Rick & Marianne were young lovers, a pair of world-changers who were on the verge of getting married when Rick took one gamble too many. He and a friend got caught up in some highly illegal activity, Rick ultimately testifying against some crooks, and then spending the next 15 years in the witness protection program. His old life has been left behind, but that's all about to change. Not only do the men who are out for his head find him, but he also runs into Marianne, the girl he left behind. Now the reunited couple must survive assassination and each other as they take to the road, running from trouble into trouble, making it all up as they go.
Did you ever see Magnum, P.I. or MacGyver? Episode after episode of action-packed chase scenes that the hero improbably survives? Imagine that but extended to two hours, starring actors that have zero chemistry, with a story that makes absolutely no continual sense. That's Bird on a Wire. It was as if they imagined the plot while they shot the film, running around blowing things up just for fun and catching it all on camera. The stunts were ridiculous, the stuntmen clearly visible as not the actual actors. I noticed about a hundred continuity issues, as if no one had even thought to make the movie believable in any way. They relied solely on the past success of the actors and the director, putting no effort whatsoever into their current project, phoning in every aspect. The result was a mess of stupid jokes, bad acting, crappy action, and an ending that might be the worst I've ever seen. Don't rewatch this movie if you saw in in the 90s; you'll only be let down.
My rating: ☆ ☆
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