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.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 6:17 PM
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