Written by: Joey Esposito, Special to CC2K
Joey Esposito returns to CC2K to take on (and take down) the Val Kilmer starring vehicle The Saint.
I haven’t seen The Saint since it came out in 1997 and I was on the cusp of being a teenager. I remember renting it from Blockbuster but hardly remembered anything about it until I managed to put myself in front of it for April Fool’s Week. As soon as the extended opening flashback kicked in (ambigously referred to as “yesterday…”), I remembered why I didn’t remember.
The Saint came at a time of old action shows being revamped as Hollywood blockbusters. This is the era of Mission: Impossible, The Avengers, and The Fugitive. Let’s get the director of the great Jack Ryan movies starring Harrison Ford to remake The Saint! I mean, Val Kilmer is Batman! Elizabeth Shue is Elizabeth Shue! It’ll be great! Lo and behold, The Saint was not that.
What it is, however, is unexciting, chemistry-less garbage. The relationship between Val Kilmer and Elizabeth Shue — both of whom I adore and are perfectly fine in this movie — is just creepy, with Kilmer using his man-of-many-faces shtick to bed her and Shue not really caring all that much when she finds out she was taken advantage of. But there is a way to watch The Saint that won’t bore you to tears.
See, I’m not convinced Val Kilmer showed up to set thinking this was going to be his serious take on an old TV show.. If you watch this movie with the idea that Kilmer was showing up on set to workshop characters to use in an upcoming Saturday Night Live audition, things instantly become much more bearable.
For instance, Kilmer’s bucktoothed scientist character could easily support a recurring sketch in the vein of Will Ferrell’s classic Harry Caray character; an abrasively off-center kook that makes all of his guests uncomfortable (unless his guest would be Shue, then things would get hot and heavy). Kilmer even calls on his own turn as Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s The Doors for his introspective poet character that teeters on the brink of a scrapped Californians family member.
Kilmer shows up to practice a host of different accents, all of which could be used to play various politicians or world leaders that would inevitably be fodder for SNL. Over the course of the movie, just imagine Kilmer is practicing for his recurring appearances as a Russian general on Weekend Update or as President Bush in a State of the Union cold open.
I would posit, in fact, that this is the only way to even approach enjoying this movie, unless you like loveless romances, near constant fog in front of the lens, and Val Kilmer removing a fake mustache as he leaps off a building.