Stallone is a Hudson Hawk
During the early to mid 90s Sylvester Stallone pumped out a series of action flicks, 6 over the course of 4 years all of them bordering on the preposterous with big action sscenes and sometimes a futuristic element. "Daylight" was the last of them giving Stallone another chance to flex his muscles as an all out action hero in what is basically a disaster movie. Actually if you took part of the concept behind "Cliffhanger" spliced it with "The Poseidon Adventure" then you would have a rough idea of what to expect from "Daylight" a daft but entertaining stereotypical Stallone action romp.
When police give chase to a gang of jewellery robbers through New York's Hudson Tunnel it ends up in disaster as they crash into some lorries which are illegally carrying toxic waste causing a huge explosion and sealing off the tunnel with a small group of survivors stuck in the middle. Witnessing all this is Kit Latura (Sylvester Stallone - Assassins), a cabbie who use to work for the Emergency Medical Services before being sacked and finds himself jumping into action and going on a solo rescue mission into the tunnel. But with air running out, water rising quickly from the Hudson River above, it seems like it's mission impossible for Kit to lead the survivor's to safety.
As "Daylight" is a 90s version of the classic disaster movie it has to be said it runs too a tight formula. For the first 15 minutes we are rushed through a series of scenes which introduce us to all those pivotal characters who will find themselves heading for disaster in the tunnel, at the same time intertwining the storyline of jewellery robbers, illegal chemical transporters and a police chase which you know will end in disaster. Unlike classic disaster movies which take their time to establish characters and building up the setting and scenarios we are bombarded in such a quick manner that before you know it the people are trapped in the tunnel with time running out.
Add to this a nod to "Cliffhanger" with Stallone playing an ex worker in the wrong place at the wrong time. So here we have Stallone playing Kit Latura an ex member of the Emergency Medical Services who now works as a cabbie and just happens to be near the tunnel when all hell breaks out. It's as contrived as the actual storyline but it doesn't really matter and all throughout "Daylight" the shadow of why Kit was sacked from the EMS looms until he finally opens up to one of the trapped people as to what really happened when he got the boot.
But aside from the nod to "Cliffhanger", "Daylight" is a disaster movie in the classic style, in fact it amazingly shares some similarities to "The Poseidon Adventure" with it being set in a sealed off tunnel under the river. So what we get is Kit firstly trying to advert dangers like water pouring in and then we have him leading them to safety, whilst of course some of them don't like being bossed about, all very reminiscent to the journey Gene Hackman took in "The Poseidon Adventure". It does add a few of its own embellishments, many of which rely on Stallone flexing his biceps in a soaking wet tight T-shirt but with a scene with them swimming through a flooded narrow tunnel, brushing with danger and death it often feels like famous scenes from iconic disaster movies have been smuggled into "Daylight".
Of course Disaster Movie + Stallone = action and there is plenty of it with a nice dangerous journey through a series of high powered fans being one of the movies more memorable scenes. But the majority of the action as you would expect revolves around Stallone and sadly such delights as him hanging from a beam whilst planting explosives all look too choreographed, gratuitously glossy for a movie which should feel rougher and dirtier. Strangely the most memorable action scene comes from the unlikely Amy Brenneman as Madelyne who takes on a live hanging cable using her boots for protection. That probably sounds daft and it sort of is but it is one of the most memorable action scenes in a movie with many but few which are really striking.
What is seriously amusing is by their sheer nature a disaster movie has plenty of characters and to really warm to them they tend to need to be played by strong recognizable actors. Well in "Daylight" there are plenty of characters but most of the actors are not well known big names and makes it an effort to warm to any of them even Stan Shaw who as tunnel guard George Tyrell is one of the more recognizable. But the minor actors isn't the problem, the quick build up to the disaster also means we don't get to know them and so struggle not only to care but remember who is who such as Vincent, who I am sure was a prisoner caught in the tunnel but can't be sure, all I am sure of is that Vincent was played by Sage Stallone.
What this all means is that "Daylight" is unsurprisingly a movie built around Sylvester Stallone as an action hero. Whilst a different character, here playing Kit Latura, it's the same sort of thing we've seen Stallone do in a lot of movies and feels all too familiar to his character in "Cliffhanger". Now I like Stallone and don't mind the grunting, muscle flexing and spouting of some corny as hell dialogue but for some reason it's all too familiar this time, too similar to other Stallone movies and doesn't really have anything unique to make either Stallone's performance or his character stand out.
What this all boils down to is that "Daylight" is Stallone doing a disaster movie. As such it runs to a disaster movie formula with Stallone being the main focus allowing him to flex his muscles as the hero of the piece. It's not a bad movie although there is little which feels that original and as such feels far too similar to not just other Stallone movies but also other disaster movies.