Christian Slater in Hard Rain (1998)

It's Raining, It's Pouring

With the hard rain causing flooding in Huntingburg and the damn unable to hold back the water, Sheriff Mike Collins (Randy Quaid) and his men have to evacuate the town. Because of this security guards Tom (Christian Slater) and his Uncle Charlie (Edward Asner) are taking the bank's money, all $3,000,000 of it, to safety in case the bank is flooded. But on their way back they not only get stuck in a fast flowing river but are attacked by Jim (Morgan Freeman) and his gang who know this is the best chance they have of getting rich quick. But Tom is a man of honour and not only does he manage to hide the money before they get it but nothing, not even being mistakenly arrested by the Sheriff will stop him from dealing with the gang who shot and killed Charlie, well with a touch of help from a church restorer named Karen (Minnie Driver).

I never thought I would say this but I miss the 90s especially 90s action movies as they were the definition of popcorn entertainment for me. These movies had stars who were not simply pretty boys, they had big action sequences which were not purely CGI and they were often so far fetched that you could say they were fantasies but they sure entertained. And "Hard Rain" is a perfect example of one of these movies as it has stars, it has big action sequences built on explosions and it is simply far fetched but it entertains and makes you realise they don't make movies like this anymore.

Morgan Freeman in Hard Rain (1998)

As such in "Hard Rain" we have what I call an over the top, but others might say an extreme, set up with a town flooding, a damn on the verge of bursting its banks, a gang of get rich quick criminals and of course are hero of the piece who could take an opportunity to leave but stays to do the job. In truth the plotline to "Hard Rain" was full of so much nonsense that I stopped paying too much attention to it and just waited for the nest moment of ridiculously spectacular action to arrive.

And that is what "Hard Rain" is about, it is the big action which isn't fake and done with CGI but is actually crafted on a big set with lots of water and a lot of skill from numerous unseen people. Okay so it goes too far such as in a scene where the bad guys break in to a shop to steal jet bikes to get around on. But it is dumb entertain and manages to grab your attention such as a scene where Tom is locked in a flooding cell with no way to escape.

And on the subject of Tom what "Hard Rain" has is actors; the likes of Freeman, Slater, Quaid and Driver all people with a certain amount of likeability but not just the posing pretty boys and girls who fill the screens now almost 20 years later. None of the characters they play are memorable because "Hard Rain" is just spectacular nonsense but they know how to play these sorts of OTT characters with a sense of purpose rather than coming across as embarrassed for being in such a dumb movie.

What this all boils down to is that "Hard Rain" may not be great cinema but it is the sort of movie I still like thanks to the combination of who is in it and the fact that the action is big and real rather than put together on computer screens. You can appreciate the skill which went in to choreographing the action scenes in this more than in many of the movies made today.