AUGUST 27, 2007
Back in 1997, I read an interview with Tom Sizemore (of whom I was a big fan from his work in Natural Born Killers, Heat, etc.), concerning his starring role in The Relic. He pointed out that it was his first starring role, but in a film people were seeing for the monster. “No one goes, ‘Hey let’s go see the new Tom Sizemore movie,” he was more or less quoted as saying. I showed it to my friend Mike, who was also a big fan of Sizemore, and we were like “We do!”
Well I didn’t go see it. And Tom got arrested on opening weekend for slapping his girlfriend around. But hey, still a big fan.
Ten years later I finally got around to seeing the film (though I did try to watch it at a hotel once, but I fell asleep before Sizemore even showed up). In a way I am almost glad I waited until I had a TV with a 10,000:1 contrast ratio to view it on. Since this is a Peter Hyams film, the levels of black and slightly less black that make up 90% of the imagery require a strong picture in order to see what the hell was going on. Had I seen the film in the best theater around at the time of the film’s theatrical release, that would not have been possible. Oh Hyams... you light hating bastard you.
It’s not the worst film I’ve ever seen, but it’s painfully generic. The Jurassic Park influences are annoying (and now, dated), and the effects are fucking terrible for the most part (especially when the monster runs around aflame during the film’s climax). I got the impression I could walk out for a half hour or so and know exactly what I missed, since the film works off of a template. 1:10 into the film – time for Sizemore to deliver some personal back story. 1:25 – time for the human character we dislike to get his just desserts. Etc.
There’s a scene early on that makes the film worth watching though. The monster kills a security guard off screen. Sizemore is investigating (via being a prick that is smarter than all the other cops), and Penelope Ann Miller walks in and sees the bloody mess. Her scream provided me the biggest laugh I’ve had in ages. Thank you, Ms. Miller. Part of the film’s problem is trying to make her into an interesting heroine. She isn’t, and having Sizemore sit the climax out while she runs around screaming (and delivering the lamest final line in a monster movie ever) certainly doesn’t help.
And why the hell is David Proval, a recognizable character actor who had already chalked up a number of good roles by the time this movie was released, play a vague security guard who appears for maybe two minutes during the 3rd act? His partner, as well as almost everyone else in the movie that wasn’t Sizemore, Miller, or Linda Hunt, is some no name, so what’s he doing stooping to their level?
Anyone ever play the game Shivers for the PC? It came out in the mid 90s. It was a Myst style adventure game where you are trapped inside a museum. I kept thinking about that game when I watched this movie. Good game.
Not a very good movie.
What say you?