The film's plot concerns a love triangle that turns violent and deadly, eventually leading to, you guessed it, revenge. Well, two acts of revenge to be specific. The first is carried out by Anthony Quinn, a heinous Mexican crime boss, on Kevin Costner, a former jet pilot, for sleeping with his wife (Madeleine Stowe); the second is carried out by Costner, looking to get back at Quinn for beating him within an inch of his life and forcing the gorgeous Stowe into a life of prostitution. That's it. That's the whole show. But Scott and company felt the necessity to expand what should have been an 85 or 90 minute actioner into an insufferable quest picture of over two hours.
The first half of the movie takes its sweet time trying to establish the paper-thin characters and their relations to one another. It's almost as if Scott and his writers were desperate in this first half to convince us that this was somehow a serious movie with characters worth caring about. Of course, all the phony character "development" scenes of the first half soon give way to what the movie is really about--guns, knives, blood, and a little male bonding to boot (though a far cry from the bonding found in a Hawks or Peckinpah).
Not for one minute could I believe that the ace fighter pilot played by Costner was really friends with Quinn's wealthy crime boss. Which is a good segue into another point: why is Costner even a fighter pilot in the film? Well, because it's one cool job for a movie character to have (and it reminds us of "Top Gun"). We might also ask and quickly answer some other questions while we're at it. Why do we get to see Quinn throw his pet dog into the pool when enraged? Because it's an obvious plot point that not only suggests his bad temper, but one that foreshadows the heartbreaking death that Costner's pup will receive later in the picture (aw!). And why the Mexican locale? Because the film needs the lyrical romanticism the country often provides to B-pictures just like this one; the sultry and exotic scenery is also perfect for gratuitous sex scenes (check out the cheesy one while Costner is driving the jeep); and it offers all kinds of superb chances for landscape shots to give the film a more epic tone. Alas and alack. Yes, the Mexican countryside has been used to better purposes in better films (see "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia).
In the end, this movie is about two overgrown boys fighting over their desired object--the girl. After Madeleine Stowe has had her face cut open, been thrown into prostitution, and been forcibly hooked on heroin, Anthony Quinn simply asks Costner for an apology for sleeping with his woman, and Costner apologizes! Even though the whole movie had been a terrible waste of time, I admit I felt shortchanged by not seeing Quinn at least get his head blown off(my inner feminist was ignited!). The final shot of Costner holding the dying Stowe in his arms as the golden sun sets behind them is a scene of such turgid kitsch as to be physically painful (either from cringing or laughing). This is all very disappointing, considering this was the last Costner film from this era I had not had a chance to see. What a terrible waste of talent in all departments.
As sad as it is, Tony Scott continues to make crass entertainments, nowadays with his digital camera and its annoyingly frenzied zoom shots. All of his recent titles--"Man on Fire," "Domino," "Deja Vu," "Pelham 123"-- have been total duds, too. Watching "Revenge" (or "Top Gun") may help you see where the problems all began. It's a shame that he has lavished so much authentic talent on so much authentic hokum.
* One Star
At this point, we are about 40 minuets into the movie. After about 5 days Micheal and Mireya fall in love and tension builds as they both fear Tiburon would find out. So what do they do? They continue the dangerous affair until of course they are caught. After they are caught Michael is brutally beaten and left for dead and Mireya is sent into slavery as a prostitute in Mexico. Micheal survives but Mireya's fate is unknown. The second half of the movie is the whole ?revenge? part.
Though there were many flaws with this movie, the first 5 minuets were the worst for me. The opening sequence was a completely pointless waist of time and money and served no purpose to the movie what so ever. It shows Micheal in a Jet flying around on ?one last ride? before retirement. I'm not sure if this was Tony Scott paying homage to his earlier film ?Top Gun? but that's exactly what it looked like to me and it was completely out of context. If you manage to make it through the first half of the setup, it turns out to be a half decent journey. The concept of the story was good but the way it played completely defies logic.
This is the ultimate slow boil film. The movie takes it's time to set up the story and background. When I mean slow, I mean it starts of at a crawl and ends in a sprint. This is not a fast paced film, at least not for the first half. This is not a happy film, at all. This is a movie about one thing, revenge. I would have cared more about Micheal and Mireya had they not been so stupid. You would have to be pretty stupid to play with fire like Micheal did. Aside from the absurdity of the characters actions there are elements of the story that are just way to convenient and feel fabricated in order to fit the complex plot.
The biggest problem with the movie is the endgame of the story. It's not a bad story in terms of quality. It's bad because it tries to confuse us with it's own skewed perception of morality and adultery. Of course the situation was Grimm for Mireya. She was stuck in an arranged marriage to a man that was old enough to be her grandfather. Of course Tiburon was a dirt-bag. The point is she was was his wife and no matter what way you cut it, it was an affair and it was wrong. But the movie will try harder than hell to convince you that it was right, and it almost works until the end.
This movie has moderate a mixture of action, romance, and suspense. Some people will surely find it boring. It starts off well providing plenty of tension going into the second half but ultimately fails because of it's misguided story and poorly paced ending. Anthony Quinn, in one of his last major roles gives a stellar performance as expected. Some other notable people that also played in the film include John Liguizamo (in one of his first roles), Miguel Ferrer, and James Gammon. I can't say it was rotten because the acting and the buildup redeemed it for me, but it wasn?t great either. Below average but worth watching once.