Remember how many of those weird action movie kisses we've witnessed
over the years? You know, the ones 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 or whatever it
was they were fighting in or against? 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, the day you get hold of a copy of In
Her Line of Fire will be 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, a lot like Imagine
Me and You did with the romantic comedy genre, In
Her Line of Fire proves one thing once and for all: that
tacky action filmmaking is no longer strictly a heterosexual realm.
That in itself is worth a couple of stars.
Secret Service Agent Lynn Delaney (Mariel Hemingway, looking
suitably butch and well-muscled) once served with marine corps
in the Gulf war. Coincidentally, back then she buddied up with
the guy who is now the Vice President, and she now 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 (played with feeling
by out lesbian actress 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
and political rebels, all armed to the teeth and shooting to kill.
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 make some money from ransoming him to an anti-American
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 truly terrible
green screen photography. 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 worst-written and inept rescue force
(otherwise known as the US Navy, complete with stock aircraft
carrier footage that I'm sure I've seen in three different films
and an episode of JAG) continues to search for
the poor trio. I'm glad the good guys on the island realised early
on that they'd have to rescue themselves because the cavalry spend
a lot of time flying around not really getting anywhere, sending
back really horrible reports to the president, including one particularly
precious moment where they all, longfaced, declare that maybe
they can get the Vice President's body back, and wouldn't that
be something. I laughed until I cried, and then laughed a bit
more. I'm pretty sure it wasn't meant to be quite that funny,
but the level of woodenness in the acting in these scenes was
Unfortunately, there really is no sexual tension between the
two women. The only reason we know there's supposed to be sexual
tension between them is that the film tells us so. The two women
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 such a cry baby
and Delaney has to stop being such a militant hardass before anything
can truly happen between them. 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.
Even in terms of TV movies, this one is pretty sub-standard.
I will give it some points for effort. Personally I had to buy
it just because Mariel Hemingway was playing a gun-toting lesbian.
In fact, Hemingway scores kudos just for the fact that she kept
a straight face long enough to record any usable footage. Some
of her dialogue really was off-the-charts bad. I really hope that
this doesn't mean that women are incapable of writing military-themed
movies. Some day, sometime, I 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.
By all means give this a go if you happen to have a couple of
hours to kill and it is the only thing on TV. Fans of Mariel Hemingway
might even benefit from putting in some effort to track it down.
I'm still amused enough at the novelty value of happy endings
involving smooching women to get a kick out of that alone, but
that's just me. I don't think the girl getting the girl at the
end is necessarily enough payoff for watching this film, unless
of course you're a huge fan of Hemingway, Bennett or the "miltary
types kill anything that moves" action genre.
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.
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