ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – I – In the Line of Fire (1993)

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: Jeff Maguire (Screenplay)

Starring: Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo, Dylan McDermott, Gary Cole, Fred Dalton Thompson, John Mahoney


Plot: Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan couldn’t save Kennedy, but he’s determined not to let a clever assassin take out this president.

Tagline – An assassin on the loose. A president in danger. Only one man stands between them…

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Brilliantly Tense


Story: In the Line of Fire starts as we meet seasoned veteran of the secret service Frank Horrigan (Eastwood) who wants to get back in the field, granted he returns to protecting the President after getting a mysterious phone call from Mitch Leary (Malkovich) who is threatening to murder the President.

As Frank tries to stay ahead of Mitch, the game of cat-n-mouse starts to catch up with him, as Frank starts to see his career fall apart on political grounds and Mitch now has Frank exactly where he needs him.


Thoughts on In the Line of Fire


Characters – Frank Horrigan once worked on President Kennedy’s detail, now older he is reaching the age where his secret service work is usually behind the desk or in the field, not around the President, after receiving a threat towards the President he positions himself on the detail again, which puts his experience on the line to protect the president. Mitch Leary is the psychotic man who is threatening the President, he wants to play games with Frank as his master of disguise helps him blend into a crowd. He always believes he is ahead of the game with his planned calculated with each movement. Lilly Raines is the new agent that must work with Frank, she is mostly the question about female agents through the eyes of an older member of the community. Al is the current partner of Frank who has been struggling with the reckless behaviour he has been working with.

PerformancesClint Eastwood in the leading role is great because he is the perfect age for this movie which makes us understand that he is good man still trying his best for the President. John Malkovich is stunning as the villain as we believe each word and action his commits to this role, being haunting and calculated throughout. Rene Russo offers us the young agent role, she does well with what she has to do without taking from the spotlight shone upon the lead two. The rest of the cast are good and know how to make the most of their limited scenes.

StoryThe story here follows the aging Secret Service agent that is caught up in a cat-n-mouse assassination attempt from an anonymous criminal. The story gives Frank a backstory of regret as he was one the President Kennedy service team and he will forever deal with the pain that he couldn’t save him, this adds determination to his character and it also gives Mitch a motive to beat the man who would ne known to have failed twice. This story shows us how to make cat-n-mouse style story where the villain will do anything and will spend time mocking the hero when he fails to capture him. We do get a heavily influenced America is great theme though which in places can be annoying to see. The pacing and use of foreshadowing works well in the film too showing us just what we are waiting to see where things go.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is mixed because most of the scenes involves an aging actor that is meant to not be able to handle the physicality of the job anymore. The crime side of the film is where we get the most interesting side of everything which shows us just how far one man is willing to go to put his name in lights by killing the President.

SettingsThe film uses the settings show to us how compact any situation where the President would be attending can become with threats from nearly every corner.

Scene of the Movie –
The rooftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too patriotic like no one else could have helped.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great crime thriller that shows us just how deadly a villain can be when they are completely set on completing a mission, we have two brilliant performances from Eastwood and Malkovich that will keep you on edge throughout.


Overall: Must watch crime thriller.





Days of Thunder (1990)

daysDirector: Tony Scott

Writer: Robert Towne (Screenplay) Robert Towne, Tom Cruise (Story)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid, Cary Elwes, Michael Rooker, Fred Dalton Thompson, John C Reilly


Plot: A young hot-shot stock car driver gets his chance to compete at the top level.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Classic Sports Thriller


Story: Days of Thunder starts when Tim Daland (Quaid) comes to experienced mechanic Harry Hogge (Duvall) to build him a car with a brand new driver Cole Trickle (Cruise). When Cole turns out to have brilliant pace Harry comes back into the game but things don’t go smoothly to start with as the two clash. Putting their differences aside Cole gets taught the does and don’ts of driving to keep Tim happy and most importantly competitive.

When Cole finally starts winning he goes head to head with the best driver on the circuit Rowdy Burns (Rooker) which leads to both being involved in a crash leaving them both in the hospital. The two get slammed by the owners of Nascar but build on mutual respect as they have to win the owner back over to get back on the track while Cole gets into a romance with Doctor Lewicki (Kidman).

When Harry decides to start a new team with a new driver Russ Wheeler (Elwes) he pushes Cole the wrong way as he deals with the consequences of the previous accident with his new friend Rowdy struggling to get back behind the wheel.

Days of Thunder sums up a fun enjoyable sports drama though one of the most intense sports around today. We do get to look at side effects from sports which is important because we all know things could go wrong. We all know how the sports dramas will end so the ending is no surprise for us. The love angle does seem kind of forced upon us but when it comes to the racing everything comes off enjoyable.


Actor Review


Tom Cruise: Cole Trickle is the hot shot young racer who gets his chance in Nascar with a new team, he starts by making plenty of mistakes until he listens to his mechanic who teaches him to turn in pace into finishing races off. He becomes one of the main contenders to be champion but is his style going to be too reckless for the sport. Tom shows that he was on the way to becoming a superstar in Hollywood.


Nicole Kidman: Dr Claire Lewicki is one of the doctors who helps after the accident, she becomes the love interest of Cole as she has to help both drivers get back on the track. Nicole does a solid job but almost gets put on the back burner.


Robert Duvall: Harry Hogge is the mechanic who builds the car, teaches Cole about racing with all of his years’ experience. He becomes like a father to Cole when the team starts clashing against the owner. Robert proves he is the serial supporting actor with this great performance here.


Randy Quaid: Tim Daland is the owner of the team but he gets greedy and starts a second team which leads to clash between Cole and new team with hot shot racer Russ Wheeler. Randy gives us a solid supporting that is almost the villain but all businessman style throughout.


Cary Elwes: Russ Wheeler is a new rival driver who pushes Cole the wrong way leading to him becoming the new favourite in the world of Nascar and his owner Harry. Cary only has a small supporting role but becomes the smug racer well.


Michael Rooker: Rowdy Burns is the experience driver who starts out as a rival but soon becomes best friends on the track after their accident, this accident leads to the two having to deal with the consequences with accidents in the sport. Michael gives the best performance and could be the most interesting character in the film.


Support Cast: Days of Thunder has some big names in supporting roles that all make this feel like they are all part of the racing world.


Director Review: Tony ScottTony gives us a good enjoyable film that is fun to watch.


Action: Days of Thunder has all sports action here.

Sports: Days of Thunder is filled with sports drama from start to finish with edge of your seat action being used.

Settings: Days of Thunder creates the settings to make us part of the action throughout.
: Days of Thunder is one for all the action fans to enjoy and is you love racing this is one for you to watch for sure. (Racing Fans Watch)


Best Part: Race sequences.

Worst Part: Love story.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final race.


Believability: Loosely based on a real driver and you can see elements being real.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: Nominated for an Oscar

Box Office: $82,7 Million

Budget: $60 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

Tagline: Cruise like Thunder.


Overall: Great racing drama film that keeps you on the edge of your seat


No Way Out (1987)

logoDirector: Roger Donaldson

Writer: Robert Garland (Screenplay) Kenneth Fearing (Novel ‘The Big Clock’)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Sean Young, Will Patton, Howard Duff, George Dzundza, Jason Bernard, Iman, Fred Dalton Thompson, Leon Russom


Plot: Tom Farrell (Costner) is a navy officer who gets posted at the Pentagon and is to report to the secretary of defence David Brice (Hackman). He starts an affair with Susan Atwell (Young) not knowing that she is Brice’s mistress. When Susan is found dead, Tom is assigned to the case of finding the killer who is believed to be a KGB mole. Tom could soon become a suspect when a Polaroid negative of him was found at Susan’s place. He now has only a few hours to find the killer before the computer regenerates the photo.


Verdict: Suspense Thriller


Story: What starts out as a simple investigation into a murder, that we know who did it gets turned into an attempted cover up leaning more into a frame. We know who committed we know who saw but the eye witness has to work the crime to prove the other man was guilty. Being trapped in the Pentagon working the case without being a loud to leave keeps everything tightly together. This is unusual as we know everything about the crime but we have to watch as each side figures out how to expose or create a truth. Add in a twist ending that makes things seem even tenser you get yourself a very good thriller. (8/10)


Actor Reviews


Kevin Costner: Tom the navy commander who gets the promotion to help work a connection case between the senator and secretary of defence. He ends up falling in love with the secretary of defence’s mistress and has to prove he murdered her when they are all after the other man, him. Good performance from Costner. (8/10)


Gene Hackman: David the secretary of defence who kills his mistress but instead of going to the police he is talked into covering it up and framing it on her new lover. Good performance that doesn’t take away anything from the more villainous role involved. (8/10)


Sean Young: Susan the victim who is quite happily a mistress but falls in love with a complete stranger. Good performance for a totally bitch woman performance. (7/10)


Will Patton: Scott the man behind the cover up, thinks he is on top of everything and quite willing just to sweep it all under the carpet to keep his man in power. Good performance from Will showing a political villain. (8/10)


Director Review: Roger Donaldson – Good direction to create a tense thriller throughout. (8/10)


Action: A couple of foot races is about as far as you get for action but they are good for the time it was made. (6/10)

Crime: The crime solving is not up to us but it more about trying to get their own truths out. (9/10)

Thriller: Thrilling throughout keeps you are the edge of the seat. (9/10)

Settings: Being trapped in the Pentagon is good setting to create the thrilling story. (9/10)

Suggestion: This is one to give a go, I think the fans of the thriller genre will enjoy but it may be a bit slow starting for the more casual viewer. (Give It A Go)


Best Part: The final foot chase through the pentagon.

Worst Part: Bit slow starting up.

Believability: Cover ups happen all the time and this could very much be a true one. (8/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $35,509,515

Budget: $15 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

Tagline: A tightly would and engrossing thriller!


Overall: Well Created Thriller

Rating 75