Daylight Movie Review

Movie Review By Anthony Leong © Copyright 1997

A former Emergency Medical Services worker seeking redemption... the overzealous rock-climbing sneaker-company president seeking glory... an adulterous husband trying to reconcile with his wife and daughter... a cop with something important to tell his new love... a busload of inmates... an elderly couple whose only family is a dog... a struggling playwright whose dreams have died in the cold of New York City... these are the people who will struggle to escape the Holland Tunnel after the collision of a stolen car and an illegal shipment of toxic waste collapse the tunnel and immolate most of those unlucky enough to be inside. If this review of "Daylight" sounds a lot like my review of "The Poseidon Adventure", that's because "Daylight" is essentially 'the Poseidon Adventure in the Holland Tunnel' (or the tunnel sequence of "Independence Day" stretched out into a full-length feature). Yes, after the initiatives of "Independence Day" and "Twister", the disaster movie is back.

Honestly, as I was paying my five bucks to see this movie, I was asking myself, "What the hell do you think you are doing?" A Stallone movie? Keeping in mind that the trailers did not have an dialogue in the audio, my hopes weren't too high for this movie-- another cookie-cutter action flick where Stallone plays a comic-book hero ("Judge Dredd" anyone?).

Now that I have seen it, I can see that my preconceptions were wrong. It starts off like every other disaster genre... short vignettes of slice 'o life characters converging on the Holland Tunnel. The only bad acting I found was in this part... the very first sequence where the toxic waste is loaded onto trucks. After this, it gets a lot better. The special effects are chest-thumping... you can almost feel every slab of concrete slam down as the tunnel collapses and the heat as the expanding fireball lights up everything in its path. From that point on, you have your typical everybody-has-their-own-idea-of-how-to-get-out-and-doesn't-give-a-damn-about-no-one-else which progresses to the understanding of their mutual interdependence necessary for survival. Meanwhile, the tunnel is filling up with water, fires are burning up the remaining oxygen, and the city engineers are trying to clear an entrance through the rubble which may inadvertently collapse the entire tunnel (hey, was that Lindsay Wagner-- the Bionic Woman?).

There are many well-directed scenes with emotional intensity as difficult choices are made. Stallone plays a different type of hero in this movie... more the John McClane type... you can empathize with his uncertainty and his anguish as he tries to get everyone out. A nice change from "I yam duh lawww!"

A lot better than what I expected... almost as good as the Poseidon Adventure... without the overt Christian symbolism (though there still is some). Definitely worthwhile. A rollercoaster-ride with heart-thumping excitement that doesn't let up.

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