Sudden Death (1995 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Hyams|
|Produced by||Howard Baldwin
|Written by||Gene Quintano|
|Story by||Karen Elise Baldwin|
|Starring||Jean-Claude Van Damme
Raymond J. Barry
|Music by||John Debney|
|Edited by||Steven Kemper|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Sudden Death is a 1995 American action film directed by Peter Hyams, and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Powers Boothe. The film was released in the United States on December 22, 1995. The film, set in a hockey stadium, was written by Gene Quintano based on a story by Karen Elise Baldwin, the wife of Pittsburgh Penguins owner Howard Baldwin, who was the producer.
Sudden Death features a collaboration between Powers Booth and Raymond J. Barry, reuniting them for the first time since 1992's Rapid Fire. This is the second film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and directed by Peter Hyams, they both worked together in Timecop, the previous year.
Darren McCord (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is a Canadian-born firefighter with the Pittsburgh Fire Bureau who suffered a personal crisis after he was unable to save a young girl from a house fire. Now removed from active duty, Darren is the fire marshal for the Civic Arena.
While attending Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks with his daughter Emily (Whittni Wright) and his son Tyler (Ross Malinger), he discovers a crime operation occurring in the arena. A terrorist group led by former United States government employee Joshua Foss (Powers Boothe) is holding U.S. Vice President Daniel Binder (Raymond J. Barry) and several other VIPs hostage in a luxury suite.
Foss has the arena wired with explosives, and plans to blow it up at the end of the game while having hundreds of millions of dollars wired into several off shore accounts. Darren must not just stop Foss, but somehow send the game into overtime and save his children simultaneously.
Darren is first pulled into the plot when Emily is kidnapped by Carla, the sole female member of the terrorists dressed as the mascot Iceburgh. She witnesses Carla murder numerous people, and is spared when she runs out of ammunition. Carla places Emily in the suite with the other hostages about to be executed. Darren, who had given pursuit, is left to search in vain. Realizing she has been "made", Carla returns to deal with Darren and a long fight breaks out. He proves to be more than a match for Carla. Darren manages to kill Carla by kicking her into a large dishwasher, which pulls on her penguin's head strap and strangles her.
However, Darren finds a security guard, but this man is a hostile in disguise. He gets the upper hand this time, though, and forces information out of the thug before stabbing him in the neck. Darren heads up to the executive offices and finds a mobile phone, with which he calls the police. They put him in touch with Secret Service Agent Matthew Hallmark (Dorian Harewood), who advises that Darren stand by while the agents take charge. He angrily refuses, saying that he will handle this himself.
The Secret Service and the Pittsburgh Police team up to surround and cordone off the arena and a standoff ensues. Meanwhile, Darren manages to find a few of the bombs and disable them, whilst Foss goes about killing several hostages. Eventually, Hallmark manages to sneak inside and meet with Darren. It quickly transpires that Hallmark is just another one of Foss' puppets, influenced by money. Darren kills Hallmark and uses Hallmark's phone to contact Foss, who taunts the man with the news that he is holding his daughter captive.
As time quickly ticks down, Darren manages to disable more bombs, but is severely slowed by confrontations with Foss' men. At one point, the fire marshal must pretend to be the Pittsburgh goalie to escape the thugs and ends up successfully defending a shot. The third period runs down, and with the Penguins down by one goal, Luc Robitaille scores the equalizer in the last second, bringing the game to sudden death and prolonging the game, but only until the next goal is made. Darren decides that there's no time left to find the remaining bombs and climbs up to the roof of the arena. He advances upon the owner's box from above and forces his way in, rescuing Emily and the remaining hostages.
Meanwhile, Foss manages to escape and blend in with the chaos that has ensued by one of Foss' henchmen falling from the roof through the score display earlier and blowing it up. However, Foss sets off one of the bombs, flooding part of the arena, and recaptures Emily when she recognizes him. They head up towards the top of the arena, where a helicopter is waiting to lift Foss away. Darren intervenes and saves his daughter. Foss flees, and a wounded Darren shoots the pilot through the floor. The pilot falls back taking the joystick with him, stalling out the chopper and a screaming Foss is killed as the chopper goes into the arena and explodes on impact with the ice.
Darren is being led to a waiting ambulance, his son and daughter comment to the paramedics about how their father is a hero, while Tyler had before told Emily that their father was too scared to be a fireman again. A contented Darren is put inside the ambulance as the film ends.
- Jean-Claude Van Damme as Darren Francis Thomas McCord, a former Pittsburgh fireman who is now serves as a fire marshal in the Civic Arena
- Powers Boothe as Joshua Foss, a traitorous Secret Service Counterfeit Division agent who leads a team of terrorists
- Raymond J. Barry as U.S. Vice President Daniel Binder
- Whittni Wright as Emily McCord, Darren's daughter
- Ross Malinger as Tyler McCord, Darren's son
- Dorian Harewood as Matthew Hallmark, a Secret Service agent in charge of the Vice-President's protection detail; later revealed to be working with Joshua Foss
- Kate McNeil as Kathi
- Michael Gaston as Hickey, Foss's computer hacker
- Audra Lindley as Mrs. Ferrara
- Brian Delate as Blair
- Faith Minton as Carla, Foss's only henchwoman
- Manny Perry as Brody, Foss's henchman
- Brian Hutchison as Young Secret Service Agent
- Jay Caufield as Brad Tolliver
- Bill Clement as Pre-game announcer
- Cleveland Lumberjacks players as Chicago Blackhawks players
- Ian Moran as Chris Chelios
- Jeff Jimerson as Himself (credited "Anthem Singer")
- Mike Lange as Himself (credited "Play-by-Play Announcer")
- Luc Robitaille as Himself
- Paul Steigerwald as Himself (credited "Color Commentator")
- Markus Näslund as Himself (uncredited)
- Bernie Nicholls as Himself (uncredited)
- Ken Wregget as Himself (uncredited)
- John Barbero as PA Announcer (uncredited)
It is set and filmed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Middletown, New York in 98 days on August 29 and December 7, 1994.
The movie received a mixed reaction. Sudden Death currently holds a 52 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, some considered Sudden Death one of Van Damme's best films to date (alongside Hard Target and Timecop). Critic Roger Ebert stated that "Sudden Death isn't about common sense. It's about the manipulation of action and special-effects sequences to create a thriller effect, and at that it's pretty good."
Sudden Death opened in the United States on the weekend of December 22, 1995 in 8th place, making only $4,782,445 at 1681 theatres, with a poor $2,845 per screen average, and meek $20,350,171 final tally. Internationally it fared a little better, with a worldwide gross of nearly $64 million. In other countries, it made close to 50 million in profit with video sales. The film's disappointing box office results may have been related to two elements outside its control: the fact that R-rated action films rarely become hits when released in December, and a film that bucked this trend to become a major hit opened just one week prior, Michael Mann's Heat.
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
- Pittsburgh Hockey.net: Sudden Death (1995)
- Pittsburgh Hockey.net: Sudden Death (1995)
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- "Sudden Death". Entertainment Weekly. 1995-12-22. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- "Sudden Death". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- Elley, Derek (1995-12-10). "Sudden Death". Variety. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- Dutka, Elaine (1995-12-25). "It's a Big Sigh of Relief for 'Exhale'; Box office: Whitney Houston film opens strongly and could take in $11 million or more for the four-day weekend. 'Nixon' and 'Cutthroat Island' perform poorly.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
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- Sudden Death at the Internet Movie Database
- Sudden Death at AllMovie
- Sudden Death at Rotten Tomatoes
- Pittsburgh Hockey.net Sudden Death (1995), retrieved October 26, 2011