'Hard Rain' Review: And the Money Receded
We're quickly making our way through our Disaster Movie Month, and we're finally finding some hidden gems. Earlier this week I got a chance to watch a true diamond in the rough. Hard Rain truly is a film that time forgot and I was surprised at its quality.
The disaster in Hard Rain is a flood of biblical proportion, and, once again, I've found another shred of proof that disaster films which do not focus on the disaster as the main conflict of the film turn out to be relatively decent movies. (The Impossible is an out-lier; it doesn't count and you can find out why here).
Hard Rain focuses on an armored truck driver named Tom (Christian Slater) as he and his partner, and uncle, Charlie go about their route cleaning out banks that are affected by the impending flood. Upon leaving Huntingburg, Indiana, Tom and Charlie get stalled in high water and call the National Guard for aide. They are then ambushed by Jim (Morgan Freeman) and his gang of armed robbers, Kenny (Michael Goorjian), Mr. Mehlor (Dann Florek) and Ray (Ricky Harris). Kenny accidentally shoots Charlie dead as Tom gets away with the $3 million in cash and hides it in a cemetery.
On the face, we have the start of good movie. We have decent story premise, talented actors, and good writing. This is aided by the fact that Hard Rain was written by Graham Yost, the same guy that wrote the Kulture Shocked favorite, Speed. In Hard Rain, Yost is able to use smart writing to move the story along and to give characters depth. You even feel bad for the cheesy characters we encounter who inevitably bite the bullet.
The acting in this film is actually pretty damn great for a film that came out in a decade that was filled with "So Bad It's Good" action and sci-fi flicks. Hard Rain stars Morgan Freeman, Chistian Slater, Randy Quaid, and Minnie Driver. Freeman is always good. Slater is one of the most underrated actors from the 90s. Quaid is usually an amazing dark horse, and his performance here as the selfless County Sheriff turned selfish, "tired of eating shit" thief was fantastic. Which was surprising to me because when I think Quaid, I think Independence Day, and this wasn't that. Minnie Driver was, well, Minnie Driver. There wasn't a whole lot for her to do in this film besides look good completely drenched in water and be a useful plot device that actually made sense. It's not going to win her an Oscar, but it will allow her to be in good films and collect a paycheck.
Simply put this was a great film and it's unfortunate that it flopped hard. As in really hard, like $70 million budget and only making $20 million hard. If you're looking for a fun action flick that could be called the "spiritual sequel" to Speed, find a copy of Hard Rain.
Final Say: Watch It