in her line of fire
Film, 2005, 2 stars
Directed: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Written: Anna Lorenzo and Paula Goldberg
Remember how many of those weird action movie kisses we've witnessed over the years where the hero and the heroine, after surviving hell, suddenly turn to each other and smooch while covered in mud or dirt or sweat or blood or goop? Have you ever wished that, just for once, the women would suddenly turn to each other and smooch, leaving the macho hero high and dry? Well if that appeals to you, this is your lucky day.
Of course, along with that crazy, completely inappropriate smooching scene comes the tacky action sequences, the cringeworthy dialogue and the over-the-top, caricatured bad guy. Yep, you have to take the whole package, it's all or nothing. However, In Her Line of Fire proves one thing once and for all - that tacky action filmmaking is no longer strictly a heterosexual realm.
Secret Service Agent Lynn Delaney (Mariel Hemingway, looking suitably well-muscled) once served with the Marines in the Gulf war. Coincidentally, back then she buddied up with the guy who is now the Vice President, and heads up his secret service detail. The Vice President (David Keith) is flying to the Pacific for a diplomatic tour when the plane gets caught in a storm and goes down, killing everyone on board except for a select few; the Vice President and his aides. Gradually, in what feels a little like an overly-violent episode of Survivor, the film whittles the cast down to the final three; the VP, Delaney and a beautiful reporter named Sharon Serrano (Jill Bennett).
As if surviving a plane crash weren't difficult enough, we find out that the island is under the control of a bunch of mercenaries, all armed to the teeth. Thanks to a briefcase full of important papers, the rebels discover early on who their fugitive is, and they set out to capture the VP alive to ransom him.
The chase is on. They pass by a stream, go up a hill, through a pipe, through some trees, and then proceed to run through the exact setting over and over until I can almost recognise each individual blade of grass on the obviously very small island. They drive jeeps and ride motorcycles against some green screens. They get captured, escape, captured again, escape... until finally Delaney is left on her own to rescue her best buddy the VP and this oddly distracting reporter who she's falling more madly in love with every second. As you do.
In the meantime, the world's most inept rescue force (otherwise known as the US Navy, complete with stock footage I've seen in three different films and an episode of JAG) continues to search for the poor trio. The cavalry spend a lot of time flying around not really getting anywhere, sending back really horrible reports to the president. One particularly precious moment has them declaring that maybe they can get the Vice President's body back, and wouldn't that be something. I laughed until I cried.
Unfortunately, there really is no sexual tension between the two women. The two of them talk to other characters and tell us that there's tension between them. They even use the phrase "sexual tension" at one point. But of course, Serrano has to quit being a cry baby and Delaney has to stop being such a hardass before anything can truly happen. Luckily for us, they figure out their differences just before the credits roll, forcing us to wait right until the end before we get to the good stuff.
This movie is bad, but I have to admit a true guilty pleasure. I had to watch it just to see Mariel Hemingway playing a gun-toting lesbian. Hemingway scores kudos just for the fact that she says this dialogue with a straight face. I really hope that this doesn't mean that women are incapable of writing military-themed movies. Some day I truly hope to see the film where the gun-toting lesbian gets the girl AND some decent lines. Unfortunately, with this one, even the title is derivative.
Note: A quick warning to Australian viewers. Buying or renting this DVD in Australia gets you a version with all the lesbian references hastily edited out. Since the smooching is the only reason to watch this film, you might want to find yourself an American version.