Sep 5, 2010


A disaster film installed within the boundaries of reality, Daylight isn't your exaggerated planet-in-peril film that we're by now accustomed to. No earth shattering nuclear warhead or enormous asteroid hurtling towards our blue planet, just a simple and avoidable disaster that jeopardizes and kills but a large handful. I repeat, not a world-killing event. Starring in this chancre-sore of claustrophobia is Sylvester Stallone who continues his embarrassing trend of adopting wildly perverse names such as Marion Cobretti, Lincoln Hawk, and in this case, Kit Latura. Daylight couldn't normally be considered a "special" film in any universe but ours. But since we're the special case, the denizens of a wholly hostile race, these scenes of hopelessness, persecution, and intense disaster terror in what might be the greatest explosion scene recorded on video, Daylight manages to progress into a stellar action/suspense film with a quick-to-twitch narrative.

Daylight sure had the innards of a summer blockbuster and a fine one at that. Electing the maiden of this voyage underground is a chance encounter of a bunch of two-bit punks and a convoy of trucks containing barrels of explosive, toxic materials. As fate would have it, the punks in the stolen car swerve and crash right into one of the payloads resulting in an extravagant explosion. This explosion scene is not only ambivalent in its miniature comic genocide but appalling in its graphic depiction of irreversible structure damage. To take this film as humor is a cinema sin though and should not be disregarded as a tablet of disposable meat. Each of the "survivors" highlighting this film is a real person, over the top or not. The narcissistic young delinquent is Sage Stallone, co-founder of exploitation DVD company Grindhouse Releasing and son of Sylvester Stallone, in one of his very few acting roles. Only in Chaos was he allowed to vent and portray the attitude of these venomous films he so lovingly wishes to restore and distribute. After this initial explosion, ex-EMS chief Latura, now cab driver, is mere feet from the tunnel as it explodes. He watches the structure outside of the Holland tunnel crumble violently, showering debris on top of its fleeing commuters.

Deciding to aim for redemption of a failed previous job that left him with a suicidal conscience and a bizarre fetish for martyrdom, Kit aims to find a way within the smoldering ruins to assist the survivors in escaping before the toxic fumes cause the humans to succumb to infinite silence. To reach the inner tunnel walls, Kit must descend through a series of oxygenating fans that are on a time delay. This introductory scene between Stallone and tunnel reinstates that hypnotic paranoia of fans that has been leeching on me since viewing Alien³ as a child. After near-escaping, our lone hero is vaulted into a vacuum tunnel and blasts a seal into the tunnel. This alone is the precursor to Kit Latura's odyssey that proves Daylight to be pretty rogue when it comes to characters fate selection. The inescapable nihilism of a catastrophe weighs solid with exploding racial tension. After Madelyne follows screams for help and traces the callback to a prison transport with a giant Negro gripping the bars screaming, she regresses the idea of helping them. After some lurid discouragement by way of "rape eye," Madelyne decides to release them from their cage. Some support that unleashed, the bullish black man does nothing but to impede upon escape attempts in his chronic hyperventilation.

Despite the unusual assortment of characters trapped between the rubble and the Hudson river, they never stay too muddled in the confines of cliche. To prove this, might I bring up the whiny and selfish love interest in Madelyne. This woman is established in the beginning of the film as a worthless being with gypsy dreams. After being dumped or cheated on, she packs her bags and leaves her low rent apartment with dreams of grandeur in New Jersey. Being caught in this mess taught her nothing about selflessness and when a wooden plank collapses, dropping her into a rapidly flooding room, she begs and screams for them not to leave her. She wishes for the world and she will never have it. This right here is true-to-life character sketching, as slimy and obtrusive as can be. One of the greatest feats of Daylight is presenting a disaster epic in which plausibility is a heavy factor. Laden with incredible special effects and seat-squirming tension, Daylight is a film that was a warm and enthralling experience in retro 90s adventure cheese. Definitely the high point in Rob Cohen's filmography.



Shaft said...

Couldn't agree more with you on this one. Which reminded me, it's been years since I've seen this; I need to do it again.

a heather o`rourke obsessed lunatic said...

Its always great when Soiled Sinema decides to reveiw something a bit more popular and mainstream, how about reveiwing the first 2 "Poltergeist" movies, no particular reason, well alright, there is a little blond reason obviously. it would be just so great to hear your opinion on the 5 year-old and 9 year-old versions (respectively in `81 and `85 when those movies were shot) of Heather because your take on the 11 year-old version last year was superb.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Since `87 another actress i think about a lot (although no-where near as much as i think about Heather obviously) is Penelope Sudrow (Freddys T.V. victim in part 3), i just think that she played a kind of "grown-up Heather" in that movie that was made in that "magic time" of Heather O`Rourke, as it were, (late `86 and early `87). At that time Heather was just coming up for her eleventh birthday and then a couple of months later would have been setting off to film "Poltergeist 3", i sometimes have fantasys about Heather and Penelope meeting up at that time to throw frisbee or play on the swings together almost as though i see penelope as being Heathers older sister (although admittedly that is a bit of an insult to Tammy because she was much prettier than Penelope), Penelopes funny scrunced up little face used to turn me on and when Heather became unwell her face became a little bit like Penelopes, those last 18 months of Heathers life were so kinda` magical (the releases of Predator, Robocop, The Hidden, Evil Dead 2, and the affor-girl-tioned Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors) its such a shame it had to end so tragically, i always try to blot-out February 1st 1988, i just cannot deal with that date. Are you starting to conjure up those magical images of Penelope and Heather playing in the park together, its a very charming and joyous image i think you`ll agree. Anyway back to Soiled Sinema reveiwing more mainstream films what about "Dream Warriors" if just to say something about Penelope Sudrows sweet scrunced up little face and to wonder what great little horror classic Heather might have been appearing in at the age of 20 in 1996 had she lived. By the way, if you go to youtube and write "Heather O`Rourke putting on the kids" you`ll see Heather singing and dancing and talking about her life (and her collection of cabbage patch dolls...ahhh...that is so sweet) on a show she appeared on just before christmas of `86 (her final "days of wine and roses" so to speak), when you watch those truly magical clips you`ll perhaps understand even more why my obsession with her is so total and all-encompassing, at that time (just before she became unwell and about 14 months before her tragic demise) Heather really was the most astonishingly breathtakingly beautiful little dream-come-true that you will ever see, believe me,(guaranteed), happy veiwing.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Did you watch the clips?, and were you entranced by them?, Heather was so amazing and incredible and quite astonishing. When i read all the com-girl-ts that accompany the clips on Youtube it makes me realise (perhaps even more than i had before) that i`m not the only person in the world who is obsessed with her, i think about it that makes me feel a little bit peeved, angry and jealous not regarding her popularity obviously but its just that i always wanted her all to myself if you know what i mean, just me and Heather together forever and nobody else around, EVER !!!, now that would be pure heaven.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Have you noticed that sweet little thing that Heather sometimes does with her lips at the end of a sentence or answering a question, she kinda` squeezes her lips together and lifts her chin up so that shes doing a kind of sweet little inverted smile, what a magical little facial tick and expression that was. She was the sweetest most magical little girl i have ever seen.