Hard Rain (1998) a (very) belated review

The last time I saw Hard Rain (which could well be called the wettest movie ever) it was during its 1998 original theatrical run.  Though overall I felt the film was a disappointment, unlike many films I see and promptly forget about, the movie’s setting stuck with me over all these years and, when the film played on cable the other day, I couldn’t help but revisit it.

So, did my opinion of the film change in the fourteen or so years since its initial release?

Alas, not all that much.

Hard Rain, as already mentioned, could well be the wettest film ever made.  It involves a town that is facing a flood, a security truck filled with loot, thieves (and other unsavory types) using this disaster to enrich themselves on said loot, and the honest security truck driver who tries his mightiest to thwart the crooks from getting the loot.

The honest security truck driver, Tom, is played by Christian Slater in a role very reminiscent of his straight arrow (ouch) role in the John Woo directed Broken Arrow, released only two years before this film.  In fact, it doesn’t surprise me to much to find, while investigating this film, that John Woo was in fact originally slated to direct Hard Rain but ultimately, obviously, didn’t.

The director of this film, Mikael Salomon, does a good job presenting the incredible flooding sequences and semi-submerged buildings.  His action scenes, on the other hand, don’t have the zip of a John Woo, and one can’t help but wonder if this movie might have worked better had a more established action director taken the helm.

For you see, the movie’s main problem, the one that had me leaving the theater disappointed when I first saw the film all those years ago, remains:  The script is simply lackluster.  Yes, there are attempts to create interesting drama by shifting character’s loyalties.  However, the fact remains that the characters in this film are all…characters.  Not for a second did I feel we were watching anything but a film.  Thus, there was never any sense of dread or danger, something we should obviously have felt.  Or, to put it another way, the movie’s many sequences (action or otherwise) play out one after the other and while there is some suspense, there just isn’t enough.

So what remains is what stayed in my mind all these years:  Those incredible water filled sets.  I can’t even begin to imagine the misery involved in making this film.  I can’t imagine the number of hours the cast and crew had to spend soaked to the bone while wading through all that water and being drenched in all that rain.

Hard Rain is a truly unique film to see.  I can honestly say you will never see the likes of it on almost anything else out there.  Unfortunately, as an “action” film it fares less, raising just a little above mediocre but not all that much more.  Given the unique setting, I would recommend this film to anyone curious to see a truly staggering water logged set.  It is impressive as hell.  But realize that the film itself isn’t the action and suspense classic it could have been.

I’ve presented the movie’s trailer below.  However, be forewarned:  One of the film’s bigger plot twists is revealed within it!