Fair Game, God damn! I love when we have a plethora of media to work our way through. I, of course, read the book that this (and the Sly Stallone masterpiece Cobra) was based on, A Running Duck by Paula Gosling. It’s a dime store thriller that was only available to me by ordering it in large-print edition (for the visually impaired) from a Wisconsin library. If there was ever anything that made me question everything that BMT stands for, it’s imagining a little old lady in Wisconsin working her arthritic fingers to the bone trying to find the only copy of A Running Duck that exists in the MN/WI area. She probably thought some other near-blind little old lady in MN wanted a thrill ride for the ages, but nope. Just me. Anyway, the book is nothing really to write home about. A standard thriller and honestly a bit boring. Someone wants to kill a woman, a Vietnam vet-turned-cop troubled by his violent past is set to protect her, they bone, he kills the bad guy. The only interesting thing to talk about with it is the odd similarities that exist between a book like this and current bestsellers like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. Throughout the book I was hit over the head with dominance/submission overtones. The male protagonist frets constantly over the safety of the female protagonist (who always seems to be defenseless and in a daze). Much like Twilight there is a powerful force out to get the female character and eventually the male character takes over her entire life to battle this force. There is a lot of talk of “doing as I say” and “learning to obey commands” with the idea that the female character will in the end be safer. And she of course realizes that this type of relationship is what she has been missing in her life and falls in love with him. You could have really replaced the characters in the book with Bella and Edward, and the assassin with a rival vampire and you would have basically had Twilight. Certainly interesting to think about.
As for the adaptation, to truly get a full picture of it I rewatched Cobra. This turned out to be a good thing because it helped realize that both adaptations are actually pretty good. They take key aspects of the plot of the book, but twist them in slightly different directions. They are neither too close or too far from the source material. In fact they are almost complements of each other, things that are changed in Cobra are often the same as in the book in Fair Game and vice versa. I think Cobra is the slightly better adaptation, because a lot of the changes for Fair Game were pretty silly and lame (the bad guys are now Russian hackers plotting a heist, random setting of Miami, Billy Baldwin is not a particularly good cop, etc.) while Cobra kept a lot of the cool shit. This by no means implies that Cobra or Fair Game are good films. They are not. They are both ridiculous.
Word up. Once again I’m going to go with the Settings 101 game that I love so much. Right away in Fair Game we get a clear idea of the city and state that we are dealing with. That’s because whenever there are cops involved in a film you can’t just make up a police department. Billy Baldwin has to be from the Miami PD. Perfecto. What takes this up to the B grade is the fact that the bad guys spend most of their time (life?) on La Tortuga, a boat that located off the coast of Miami. How do we know where it is? Because the film continually shows a map depicting exactly where in the ocean they are floating. Wonderful. Of course, Miami itself doesn’t really get to shine all that much in the end, so it can’t really make it up to A-level. In fact I honestly can’t really think of famous Miami landmarks. Are there any? I guess they would have had to set up a sting at a Marlins game or something (a la Abduction). Anyway, just for kicks we can also give Cobra a C+ or B-. It also clearly takes place in Los Angeles with the LAPD… but that’s all it really has. Kind of the bare minimum with a clear setting without resorting to license plates.
‘Ello everyone! Fair Game?! More like Fairly Lame! Kind of true. This was a weird one, let’s get into it:
- The Good – The movie was pretty much composed of non-stop adrenaline-fueled in-your-face action, if that’s your thing. The actions scenes were also often quite impressive from a technical perspective (even if they were often ludicrous). The movie is more of a movie than I expected, but …
- The Bad – The movie still felt like it was barely theatrical released. Basically Billy Baldwin was all that stood in the way of this being Firestorm starring Howie Long, and it was about two levels below the other A Running Duck adaptation Cobra in quality. Cindy Crawford was genuinely terrible and there is no excuse really. Selma Hayek’s character makes no sense.
- The BMT – Yes. More so that Firestorm. 40-50 I think. Quality stuff, but again, not as much of a “real movie”™ as one would hope. Would I watch it again? Yeah, maybe. I could imagine it fitting in quite well with a Seagal / Van Damme / Baldwin trilogy bonanza. Like … On Deadly Ground / Timecop / Fair Game would make you question everything you’ve done with your life.
I’m going to keep this a bit short, so let’s think of a quick game. I’m feeling Sequel / Prequel / Remake and especially a sequel. Imagine an older Billy Baldwin and older Cindy Crawford running around like idiots pretending like any of this still makes sense? It would be truly glorious. I would even still make the bad guys Russian and the theme of the movie would still be heavily focused on the neo-Luddite ideals of technology allowing criminals to control the world. I would call it Fair Shake and could make it on a dime Netflix.