This troubled Bruce Beresford thriller had the plug pulled by the producers 50 days into the shoot, apparently because everyone realized the script didn’t make much sense. Beresford carried on to the finish line, using his own money. And was rewarded with a straight-to-DVD release almost everywhere. Budget was likely an issue from the off anyway, since it was shot in Bulgaria.
Everyone who was concerned about the film’s internal logic was right; it makes very little sense. Right from the moment that John Cusack’s ex-cop (out on a camping trip with his son) decides to escort Morgan Freeman’s assassin back to custody you know it’s going to be a tall order to keep the wheels turning without credulity being strained. And there’s little reason for Freeman not to have turned the tables on his captor at an opportune moment (other than that there’s a desire to establish him as a not wholly dislikeable bad guy); there are certainly many occasions where it wouldn’t have been too difficult. Then there’s the hot pursuit by Freeman’s team, none of whom seem to have any concern about leaving a trail of attention-grabbing death and mayhem in their wake. The nefarious presence of government agencies doesn’t really add much intrigue because the whole is so cack-handed (one wonders if there was some vague agenda in making the object of the contract a billionaire who opposes stem cell research, but if there was it never becomes lucid).
That said, I enjoyed it for all its silliness. Freeman and Cusack make their scenes watchable, Jonathan Hyde is great fun as the chess-obsessed team member and Megan Dodds has a very fetching arse-double. As for Beresford, he’s not directed an unqualified success since Breaker Morant way back when, but his films are generally distinguished by a form of social conscience (however naïve or undeveloped). This is just a cliché-strewn muddle, more Double Jeopardy than anything high-minded. On the positive side, at least it’s no Driving Miss Daisy.