Blown Away (1994 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Blown Away
Blow Away 1994 Film Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Stephen Hopkins
Produced by Pen Densham
Richard Barton Lewis
John Watson
Written by John Rice
Joe Batteer
Jay Roach
Story by John Rice
Joe Batteer
Starring
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Peter Levy
Edited by Tim Wellburn
Production
company
Distributed by MGM/UA Distribution Co.
Release date
July 1, 1994
Running time
121 minutes
Country United States
Language English/Irish
Budget $28 million[1]
Box office $30,155,037 (USA)[2]

Blown Away is a 1994 action thriller film starring Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones. It was directed by Stephen Hopkins. The movie was financed by MGM, a studio which was in financial difficulty at the time. The head of the studio was Frank Mancuso.[3]

It was the first action film starring Jeff Bridges, who was by then a 43-year old character actor.[4] Bridges said he was always interested in the genre, particularly as his father, Lloyd Bridges (who co-stars in the film) appeared in High Noon fighting Gary Cooper.[5] Stephen Hopkins said that Jeff Bridges was his first choice to play the lead. "I was very lucky that MGM backed me up, because he doesn't seem to be the obvious choice for this kind of genre film," said the director. "Then I had to persuade him to do it, because it wasn't something he was comfortable with at first."[6]

Plot[edit]

Irish convict Ryan Gaerity escapes from his cell in a castle prison in Northern Ireland, killing a guard and his cellmate in the process, after turning a toilet into a bomb.

In Boston, Lt. Jimmy Dove is a veteran member of the police force's bomb squad, on the verge of retirement and helping to train newer recruits. Dove hides that he is really Liam McGivney, a former member of a Northern Ireland terrorist cell. He had been friends with Gaerity, but when Gaerity tried to set off a bomb that would have killed numerous civilians, he interceded, ending in the death of his girlfriend, who was also Gaerity's sister, and leading to Gaerity's imprisonment. Devastated, McGivney had moved to Boston and took on a new identity, hoping to find atonement in saving others by defusing bombs. Only Dove's uncle Max O'Bannon is aware of his past and expresses his desire for Dove to retire early, having clearly shown his atonement.

Gaerity makes his way to Boston, taking residence in an abandoned casino boat, and tracks down Dove. He takes a job as a janitor at the police station to learn more about Dove's present life and his co-workers. Gaerity sets up bombs specifically designed to kill the defusers, which kill three of Dove's team members. Dove receives a call from Gaerity and realizes that his wife Kate and stepdaughter are in danger. He explains his true past to them, and convinces them to go into hiding at a nearby beach house. A member of Dove's squad, rookie technician Anthony Franklin, who has linked Dove's former life to Gaerity, is safely rescued from another bomb planted by Gaerity with Dove's aid, and promises Dove any assistance he can offer.

Max decides to try to stop Gaerity himself, trying to get close to him at an Irish bar, but instead ends up captured by him, and latched into a makeshift bomb. Dove tracks down Max, and goes to retrieve his tools, but Max, realizing that Gaerity had created the bomb to kill both of them, intentionally triggers the bomb while Dove is away, sacrificing himself. In analyzing the bomb's debris, Dove finds a roulette ball that points to the abandoned ship, where he finds Gaerity. Gaerity reveals that he has set up another bomb in Kate's car and activates its arming mechanism before engaging with Dove in a large mêlée fight throughout the booby-trapped ship, which has been rigged to blow up in a few minutes. Dove gains the upper hand, and handcuffs himself to Gaerity, preventing him from leaving, preparing to die to keep his secret and prevent anymore deaths. Dove is saved by Franklin at the last second, who had followed Dove to the ship, and the two escape in time before the ship explodes, killing Gaerity in the process.

The two race back to the city, hoping to stop Kate before she starts the car. They arrive too late but are able to catch up to Kate, and Dove jumps into her car. He finds the complex bomb and manages to defuse it in time. As they recover, Franklin tells Dove he knows his past identity but will keep it a secret if he can take credit for taking down Gaerity; Dove agrees and gives Franklin his badge before leaving with Kate and his stepdaughter.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Stephen Hopkins who agreed to do the film after completing Judgement Night. He told his agent, " 'I don't want to make a movie about a bomb squad!' But he insisted, which he very rarely does, so I read it and thought it was terrific. Forty-eight hours later, the deal was done, bang."[6]

"I would say the movie is, hopefully, more of a suspense film, which is more interesting to me than that type of movie where we see a bunch of explosions," said Hopkins. "I was attracted because there were a bunch of great characters who obviously would attract great actors to do them. And also the suspense bit; there's so many different types of suspense in the film. There are some fun suspense scenes, and there are some very emotionally intense scenes."[6]

"You can make violence into a fantasy situation or you can try and make it relatable," said Hopkins. "If you bring it down to as realistic terms as possible under the circumstances, then for me it becomes more interesting than to be out there with larger-than-life superhuman types in glossy, glamorous situations. There's some politically incorrect things about this film I like which aren't usually allowed in these kind of films. The hero did make mistakes, he lied to his wife, he lies to his friends all the way through the film, he feels guilty and acts irresponsibly, he gives up. Normally I find now that everyone has to be perfect."[6]

Casting[edit]

Hopkins says that Bridges' casting "opens up a whole bunch of actors who really want to work with him."[6]

"I was looking for an action film," said Jeff Bridges. "So I read a lot of scripts, looking for one that transcended the genre. I wanted something that had a little more depth -- that had genuine characters and relationships. What appealed to me about this script was that you cared about the people."[7]

Richard Harris was going to play Bridges' mentor.[8] However the role ended up being played by Bridges' father Lloyd. The producers made Lloyd Bridges audition because they associated the actor with comedies.[7]

Another actor new to the genre was Forest Whitaker, who wanted to play "a character that could walk into a room and say: 'I'm the best. Stick around and maybe you'll learn something from me'".[9]

Filming[edit]

Filming took place in Massachusetts from August 1993 to January 1994.[10][11] It was the biggest budget movie ever to be made in Massachusetts until that time. The Boston Bomb Squad acted as consultants.[12]

Hopkins used microphotography and expanded digital sound effects to get right inside the bombs. "I thought it was a great way of using sound and visuals," he said. "You can increase the visceral response to the scene. You can suddenly cut to this big marble hanging there and hear it `Whooosh!' all around. You're sort of able to change the world, to go in and really see what's going on."[6]

The climactic ship explosion was so powerful it shattered 8,000 windows in East Boston during filming.[13][14]

Paul Hill, one of the Guildford Four who had been wrongly imprisoned in the UK, helped the filmmakers with background information.[5]

Release and Reception[edit]

MGM advertised the film heavily spending $7 million on television spots.[15]

Box office[edit]

Blown Away opened at fourth place in its opening weekend, with $10.5 million, which at the time was MGM's biggest opening weekend ever.[16] This was still MGM's biggest opening in a decade.[17] " "This puts us back in the mainstream of movie distribution," said Larry Gleason, MGM's president of worldwide theatrical distribution."[18]

It finished its North American run with $30 million.[2]

The film suffered in comparison to another "bomb" movie, Speed, which was rushed into cinemas to beat Blown Away.[19]

Critical response[edit]

Blown Away received negative reviews from critics and holds a 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 19 reviews.[20] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[21]

The film was widely criticized for the poor Irish accents of the three main Irish characters, with Tommy Lee Jones' portrayal of Ryan Gaerity particularly receiving the harshest criticism.[22]

Home video[edit]

The VHS and Laserdisc of the film was released on December 14, 1994.[23] The UK rental tape of Blown Away notably featured a Tango Orange advertisement in the trailers at the start which was banned from television for being frightening.

MGM issued Blown Away on DVD in 1997,[24] while Kino Lorber (under license from MGM) picked up the movie for a Blu-Ray release in 2015.[25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rayner, Richard (13 November 1993). "The Fabulous Bridges Boys". Independent Magazine. 
  2. ^ a b "Blown Away (1994)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  3. ^ Company Town A Giant Clash Over Record Company: [Home Edition] Citron, Alan. Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]21 June 1994: 4.
  4. ^ Maslin, Janet (17 October 1993). "Arnold. Sly. Kevin. Jeff?: THE RELUCTANT STAR". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Archerd, Army (14 November 1993). "'Blown Away' adds explosive fight scene". Variety. Los Angeles. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f SUSPENSE PROVIDES REAL PYROTECHNICS FOR DIRECTOR HOPKINS IN `BLOWN AWAY', HENRY SHEEHAN: The Orange County Register. Orange County Register; Santa Ana, Calif. [Santa Ana, Calif]02 July 1994: F04.
  7. ^ a b Jeff Bridges had a blast in Blown Away: [Final Edition] Portman, Jamie. Calgary Herald; Calgary, Alta. [Calgary, Alta]26 June 1994: E1.
  8. ^ DENZEL WASHINGTON WANTS 'DEVIL' LEAD: [3 STAR Edition] Orlando Sentinel; Orlando, Fla. [Orlando, Fla]23 July 1993: 15.
  9. ^ Grant, James (30 June 1994). "One Quiet Man, One Booming Career : Movies: That's Forest Whitaker, the actor best known for 'Bird' and 'The Crying Game.' He's got four movies coming out this season, which isn't bad for a shy guy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  10. ^ Frook, John Evan (16 August 1993). "Whitaker's 'Blown Away'". Variety. Los Angeles. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  11. ^ Citron, Alan (7 January 1994). "Trilogy Group Strikes Deal With Major Europe Film Distributor : Movies: The three-year pact with London-based Majestic could be a lucrative one for the developer of 'Robin Hood.'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  12. ^ State lands its biggest movie yet Hollywood comes to Hub to make blockbuster about the bomb squad: [Second Edition] Johnson, Tracy. Boston Globe (pre-1997 Fulltext); Boston, Mass. [Boston, Mass]04 Aug 1993: 65.
  13. ^ "Blown Away". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  14. ^ Boat in harbor `Blown Away' Staged blast shatters East Boston windows, ignites roof fires: [City Edition] Wong, Dean KAuthor InformationView Profile. Boston Globe (pre-1997 Fulltext); Boston, Mass. [Boston, Mass]25 Sep 1993: 13.
  15. ^ Sharon on Her Fame: [CITY Edition] Smith, Liz. Newsday, Combined editions; Long Island, N.Y. [Long Island, N.Y]18 May 1994: A11.
  16. ^ Fox, David J. (5 July 1994). "It's Still Clear Which Film Is the 'King' : Movies: Disney's animated feature brings in an estimated $34 million over the holiday weekend, giving it more than $100 million after 11 days of nationwide release". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  17. ^ MGM gets $350-million line of credit from banking syndicate Bates, James. Los Angeles Times; Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]12 July 1994: 4.
  18. ^ It's Still Clear Which Film Is the `King' Movies: Disney's animated feature brings in an estimated $34 million over the holiday weekend, giving it more than $100 million after 11 days of nationwide release.: [Home Edition] Fox, David JAuthor InformationView Profile. Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]05 July 1994: 1.
  19. ^ Hurtling to the Top: A Director Is Born: [Biography] WEINRAUB,, BERNARD. New York Times, Late Edition (East Coast); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]14 June 1994: C.15.
  20. ^ "Blown Away (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  21. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com. 
  22. ^ "The worst Irish accents in Hollywood movies". Irish Central. March 20, 2011. Retrieved December 9, 2011. 
  23. ^ McGowan, Chris (November 19, 1994). "Laser Scans: Image To Distribute Geffen's Music Vids; Sales Blizzard Expected For 'Snow White'". Billboard. p. 69. Retrieved October 28, 2016. 
  24. ^ Goldstein, Seth (September 20, 1997). "Picture This: Studios' Scramble For DVD Control, Divx Debate May Discourage Customers". Billboard. p. 63. Retrieved October 28, 2016. 
  25. ^ Hassenger, Jesse (7 October 2015). "'Malice' and 'Blown Away' Are Two '90s Thrillers With Popcorn Niche Appeal". PopMatters. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 

External links[edit]