Hard Rain (film)
UK Film poster
|Directed by||Mikael Salomon|
|Produced by||Allison Lyon Segan
|Written by||Graham Yost|
|Music by||Christopher Young|
|Cinematography||Peter Menzies Jr.|
|Editing by||Amnon David
Gillian L. Hutshing
Polygram Filmed Entertainment
The Mutual Film Company
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures (US)
Mutual Film (Global)
|Release dates||16 January 1998 (US)
3 April 1998 (UK)
|Running time||97 minutes|
|Country||United States, United Kingdom|
|Box office||$19,870,567 (US domestic)|
Hard Rain (also known as The Flood) is a 1998 American/British action thriller disaster movie, produced by Mark Gordon, written by Graham Yost (the writer-producer team also behind the film Speed) and directed by former cinematographer turned director Mikael Salomon. It stars Christian Slater, Morgan Freeman, Randy Quaid, Minnie Driver and Ed Asner.
The plot centers around a heist and man-made treachery amidst a natural disaster in a small Indiana town. The tagline is "A simple plan. An instant fortune. Just add water." The film was not a financial success in the United States but fared better overseas and had good video sales, yet received polarized reviews.
The production of the film was a collaborative effort between numerous film studios, one of which was the British Broadcasting Corporation. At one point, John Woo was attached to direct the film, but he left the project to direct Face/Off instead and the project was taken over by Mikael Salomon.
The film was originally titled "The Flood", it was changed because the film-makers didn't want audiences to assume it was primarily a disaster movie and not a heist movie/thriller. However, the film still retained that title in numerous other countries.
The film was shot in Huntingburg, Indiana where the film is set (although in reality there is no major river or dam nearby – only two reservoirs near the town), as well as a $6 million set in an aircraft hangar in Palmdale, California where the B-1 Lancer bomber was manufactured, and some exteriors in Etobicoke, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
During the worst recorded rainstorm in the history of the Midwestern United States, armored truck drivers Tom (Christian Slater) and his uncle Charlie (Edward Asner) are collecting the money from the local banks affected by the rising flood waters. In the small town of Huntingburg, Indiana, which has been evacuated, Tom and Charlie drive into a ditch and become stuck, and Charlie calls dispatch to alert the National Guard. They are then ambushed by Jim (Morgan Freeman) and his gang of armed robbers, Kenny (Michael Goorjian), Mr. Mehlor (Dann Florek) and Ray (Ricky Harris). Kenny accidentally shoots Charlie dead, as Tom gets away with the $3 million in cash and hides it in a cemetery.
After being chased through the local Middle School by the gang now travelling with a boat and jet skis, Tom takes refuge in a nearby church. He is knocked out and wakes up in a cell at the local Sheriff's office. Tom tells the local sheriff Mike Collig (Randy Quaid) about the gang and the area he hid the money, although he keeps him locked up. He and his Deputy Wayne (Mark Rolston) then leave to investigate, whilst another officer Phil (Peter Murnik) is ordered to take Karen (Minnie Driver), the woman who knocked Tom out and is currently restoring the church, out of town. In protest, she pushes Phil out of the boat so she will be able to fill the water pumps at her church.
The town's dam continues to experience huge pressure from the rain and the operator Hank (Wayne Duvall) is forced to open another levee. This causes another huge burst of water to stream through the town, resulting in even worse flooding, especially at the church. Tom wakes in his cell, trapped as the Sheriff's building slowly fills up with water. After filling the pumps at the church, Karen returns and saves him by opening the light fitting on the roof for him to escape. They are then spotted by the gang, and hide before having to get out of the water because a nearby transformer is going to blow. Kenny grabs Tom and they both fall in the water, but Tom fights him off before Kenny is electrocuted and later dies. Tom and Karen enter a nearby house, only to discover locals Doreen (Betty White) and Henry Sears (Richard Dysart) who believe they are looters. After explaining their story, Henry decides to give Tom their boat so he can return to the armored truck. When he resurfaces from the now submerged truck, he finds Jim and the gang holding the elderly couple hostage. Tom forces Jim to let them go so he'll show them where the money is.
On the way to the cemetery, Jim reveals to Tom that the National Guard were never coming because Charlie was actually calling the gang, and was in an alliance with them. He was only killed because Kenny was never told Charlie was on their side. Jim then sends Tom to retrieve the money but finds it has gone. When the gang are about to shoot him in anger, they are all ambushed by Sheriff Collig and his deputies, who have found Karen, and the money. The Sheriff now doesn't care any more about justice and intends to keep the money, splitting it between himself, Wayne, Phil and Hank, who has now joined them from the dam (the Sheriff was in the last days of the job after losing a recent election, hence his new stance).
Mr. Mehlor and Ray are killed in the shoot out, and Jim and Tom escape in a boat, finding sanctuary in the church. Wayne, not wanting any witnesses left, takes Karen back to her house, and handcuffs her to the banister, with an intention of raping her and leaving her to drown. The others try to force Tom and Jim out by throwing molotov cocktails on the roof, but they fail, and instead drive into the church through the stained glass windows. At Karen's house, Karen manages to stab Wayne with her pocketknife, killing him. In the church, a shoot out occurs where at one point Tom and Phil come face to face, but Phil cannot bring himself to shoot him.
Hank then shoots Phil, thinking he's a coward. The alarm from the dam saying it is overflowed suddenly sounds. Offering a deal, the sheriff says he'll tell Tom and Jim where Karen is, if they let Hank and himself go with a couple of the moneybags. Tom agrees, yet Jim does not. A dying Phil then tells Tom where Karen is, and Tom then leaves to try to save her. Jim goes to leave with the money in the sheriff's boat, but the sheriff shoots Jim with a revolver he was hiding, wounding his shoulder. Sheriff Collig and Hank escape in a boat and, when they are forced to go faster to avoid the wave engulfing the town, the Sheriff pushes Hank out of the boat, who tries to swim to safety, but is caught in a gas explosion and dies.
Tom arrives at Karen's house, to find her handcuffed to the banister. He first tries to free her with a saw, but it breaks, and he instead uses Wayne's gun. The water is so high now they have to get onto the roof and are then caught by Sheriff Collig. Jim, who managed to escape from the church, comes from behind them in a boat. The Sheriff shoots at him, disabling the steering, forcing him to go over the roof. As he does so, the outboard breaks off and collides with the sheriff, knocking him into the water.
However, he is not dead, and tries to shoot Karen and grab a moneybag, but Tom and Jim manage to shoot him dead. Tom tells Jim he should leave, just as the State Police arrive. Jim picks up the Sheriff's moneybag and rows away, as Tom tells Karen the fire damage to her church wasn't too bad while being picked up by State Police.
- Morgan Freeman - Jim - the mastermind behind the heist
- Christian Slater - Tom
- Randy Quaid - Sheriff Mike Collig
- Minnie Driver - Karen
- Edward Asner - Charlie - Tom's uncle and partner
- Michael Goorjian - Kenny
- Dann Florek - Mr Mehlor
- Ricky Harris - Ray
- Mark Rolston - Wayne Bryce
- Peter Murnik - Phil
- Wayne Duvall - Hank
- Richard Dysart - Henry Sears
- Betty White - Doreen Sears
- Ray Baker as Mayor
Hard Rain opened on Martin Luther King long weekend in 1998 earning fifth place with $7,076,110 from Friday to Sunday and $8,009,024 including the holiday Monday. In the end, the film only made $19,870,567 domestically on a $70 million budget making it one of the most expensive flops of the year.
The production costs were however remade by high VHS and DVD sales, and some overseas box offices. Due to its poor box office performance in the US, the film was released straight to video in most countries.
The film received polarized reviews, some very positive and some very negative. One example of a positive review was on timeout.com, which favourably compared the plot of Hard Rain to writer Graham Yost's earlier and more financially successful project, the acclaimed action film Speed and suggested that it could be considered a spiritual sequel to Speed. Another review, on starpulse.com, praised the action scenes of Hard Rain yet criticized the plot, calling it "mindless" yet "entertaining".
- Hard Rain at the Internet Movie Database
- Hard Rain at Rotten Tomatoes
- Hard Rain at AllMovie
- Boxoffice information
- Movie stills