Daylight review

daylight

Sylvester Stallone received an academy award nomination after a gap of 39 years. Until today, the guy was famous for his bad performances, or for those films that were highly panned by the critics. While he could hold the audience with his charisma and star power, Sly ended up in the Razzies list and created a record for himself. This year with Creed, he said a huge “Shut up” to his haters and the razzies. During all this, I was browsing the internet for movie clips and ended up watching Daylight’s explosion scene.  Daylight is the 1996 disaster film and a wave of nostalgia hit me because when I watched that scene for the first time, I was 7 years old and the sequence froze me in my seat. Watching that scene tempted me to buy a blu ray and eventually I did. This is also one of the important feature films that had Sylvester Stallone’s late son Sage. RIP

A tunnel that joins Manhattan and New Jersey suffers from a massive explosion after a speeding car that was stolen, hit the trucks containing toxic waste and gas. Both the ends were sealed due to the explosion and a bunch of people who barely survived is trapped. Former E.M.S chief Kit Latura (Sylvester Stallone) volunteers to help these people out as he has innate knowledge about the tunnel system as he ran a terrorist hypothetical in ’94. He enters the tunnel fortunately and the rest of the plot deals with his attempts to save the survivors trapped in the tunnel.

In one sentence, this film is spectacular yet flawed. These days, disaster films and such genres are overshadowed by the tremendous impact created by the super-hero movie culture. During the ’90s, many variety films came and mind you the amount of CGI used back then was less. The visual effects of daylight should be highly appreciated as these days it is quite easy as they can be replaced with green screen. Rob Cohen, who brought us the fast and the furious, presented the visuals with utmost sincerity and attention given to the effects, sound, cinematography and editing. The explosion sequence is top class. The build in, the after math and the reactions were appropriately structured and the shot where the fire bulges out of the tunnel in Manhattan end deserves an A+ stamp. The flood and the water leaking scenes inside the tunnel were also befitting though critics have scrutinized them earlier for being too ‘coincidental’. Randy Edelman composed memorable music, daylight’s soundtrack is one of my personal favorites from the nostalgic film collection.

daylight1

Image source empireonline

Overall pacing and Rob Cohen’s direction is incredible. The film is a combination of Action and Suspense taken with emotional or dramatic context, with moral values and team spirit as the highlight. The overall performance from the ensemble cast is suitable. This is one of the performances of Sly that received mixed to negative reviews. He did deliver a fitting performance as someone who is struggling to help people through the disaster and dialogue delivery is agreeable. Amy Brenneman did an appreciable as a frustrated writer Madelyn and her performance during the ‘live wire’ and ‘walkie talkie’ sequences were approprite to the situation. Viggo Mortensen’s role was limited, which was kind of disappointing. Stan Shaw and Vanessa Calloway were both controlled and sensitive in their character approach. One thing that should be well appreciated is the depth of each of the main characters. Everyone has their own story and the plot is not just limited to Latura. Leslie Bonham’s writing and Cohen’s vision took time and space to establish each character’s story leading up to their journey through the tunnel.

But there is a plot hole that wouldn’t go off my mind. One is that part about the exhaust fans. Kit enters the tunnel through large exhaust fan system that led beneath the tunnel and he came out of the man-hole. He was told that the fans cannot be stopped for the second time and there’s only one chance for him. The reason why they didn’t shut it down is because it will exhaust the remaining oxygen level inside the tunnel. The question is; Why couldn’t they just blow up the fans and send a team through that area such that the remaining survivors are rescued before they asphyxiate? That part was never explained.

In addition to the plot hole, there are certain plot points and situations that they could have avoided, especially towards the end. All of that puts this film in very good but not great category. Even then, the film is an endearing tension-packed edge of the seat of the thriller. The crew and technical team indeed took a lot of effort to have this product. You won’t notice how fast 2 hours went.

3.5/5

Featured image: fanart

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