Midnight in Saint Petersburg (1996)   2/52/52/52/52/5


Michael Caine and Jason Connery in Midnight in Saint Petersburg (1996)

Down and Out in Saint Petersburg

Harry Palmer (Michael Caine), having retired from being a British secret agent, now runs his own Private Investigation company based in Russia with Nikolai Petrov (Jason Connery) as part of his team. Having received a call to attend the circus he receives a message hiring him to track down a consignment of stolen Plutonium. Heading to St. Petersburg Harry not only has to use all his knowledge and skills to find the Plutonium but deal with the Russian Mafia and help Nikolai as someone appears to be out to kidnap his new girlfriend Tatiana (Tanya Jackson).

I have to admit that I am no expert on the Harry Palmer movies and whilst that would often be a negative when watching one of a series of movies it doesn't actually make a lot of difference when watching "Midnight in Saint Petersburg", the last in the series. Whilst it doesn't serve up much back story for the characters in some ways it doesn't need to as this is simply a former agent using his skills, connections and friends to deal with a few problems and dangerous situations. The trouble is that this is one of those movies where you get a lot of exposition followed by brief action, almost reminiscent of the old Adam West Batman shows. It makes it weak but it also makes it easy to follow for those looking for something easy to watch.

The thing is that whilst this forced exposition makes "Midnight in Saint Petersburg" weak as a thriller it also leads to a lot of wooden acting as scene after scene has a static feel of someone either on the phone or sitting next to someone talking. It would help if when some drama and action cropped up it would be exciting but it all feels very staged, brief and clearly done with limited funds and time. If you put all this together the end result is a movie which not only feels like it is going through the motions but fails to draw you in to the stories of either the stolen Plutonium or the bad guys after Tatiana.

What this all boils down to is that "Midnight in Saint Petersburg" is a weak movie, a dialogue heavy, exposition filled drama which fails to be intriguing enough to draw you in. Maybe those who have spent time in Saint Petersburg might get pleasure out of various scenes shot amongst its old buildings but that is as good as it gets.


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