Hard Rain (film)

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Hard Rain
Hard rain ver3.jpg
UK Film poster
Directed by Mikael Salomon
Produced by Allison Lyon Segan
Ian Bryce
Mark Gordon
Gary Levinsohn
Written by Graham Yost
Starring Morgan Freeman
Christian Slater
Randy Quaid
Minnie Driver
Music by Christopher Young
Cinematography Peter Menzies Jr.
Edited by Amnon David
Paul Hirsch
Gillian L. Hutshing
Production
company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
(United States)
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
(United Kingdom)
Release dates
16 January 1998 (US)
3 April 1998 (UK)
Running time
97 minutes
Country United States, United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $70 million
Box office $19,870,567

Hard Rain (also known as The Flood) is a 1998 American/British action thriller film, 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 on 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 received negative reviews and was a box office bomb in the United States, but fared better overseas and had good video sales.

The film is also noteworthy for its use of the song "Flood" by the Christian rock group Jars of Clay, which launched the band into the mainstream music scene.

Plot[edit]

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) collect the money from 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 where he hid the money, but the sheriff keeps Tom locked up. The sheriff and his Deputy Wayne (Mark Rolston) then leave to investigate, ordering officer Phil (Peter Murnik) 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. Kenny tries to force them to tell him where the money is, but a power box explodes in the water, causing him to get electrocuted. After telling their story to Doreen and Henry Seers, Tom decides to borrow their boat, in order to retrieve a shotgun, but Jim and and the others ambush him, taking Doreen and Henry hostage. After letting them go, Tom tells Jim where he hid the money. Jim reveals that Charlie was in on the heist, that he never called the National Guard, and that Charlie was going to split the money with him, leaving Tom in disgust. Jim tells Tom that Charlie's death was an accident. Tom tries to retrieve the money, but the sheriff has already taken it. Jim and the others are about to shoot in anger, until the Sheriff arrives in time to save him.

Mr. Mehlor and Ray are killed in the shoot out, and Jim and Tom escape in a boat, finding sanctuary in the church. Tom begins to realize that the sheriff has become crooked after he had lost an election a year earlier. Tom asks Jim what he was going to do with the money. Jim was planning on retiring to a country that he can do whatever he wants, which is exactly what Tom has fantasized about doing. The sheriff and his friends try to smoke Tom and Jim out of the church by using Molotov cocktails, to no avail. They then crash their boats into the church, leading to a shootout. Meanwhile, Wayne tries to rape Karen and leave her to drown, but Karen kills him with a pocket knife, and tries to retrieve his gun and keys to the handcuffs, but his body starts to float away.

During the shootout, Hank shoots Phil, thinking he's a coward. Suddenly, an alarm sounds; it signifies that the dam is overflowing. Offering a deal, the sheriff says he'll tell Tom and Jim where Karen is, if they let him and Hank go with a couple of the moneybags. Tom agrees, but 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. Hank tries to swim to safety, but is caught in a gas explosion and dies. Arriving at Karen's house, Tom frees Karen, and the two escape to the roof, where the sheriff tries to kill them. Jim drives a boat over the roof, and the propeller comes loose, knocking the sheriff into the water. Tom thanks Jim for saving his life, but Jim only cares about the money.

The sheriff 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.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The production of the film was a collaborative effort between numerous film studios, one of which was the British Broadcasting Corporation.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4]

Box office[edit]

Hard Rain opened on Martin Luther King weekend in 1998 earning fifth place with $7,076,110 from Friday to Sunday[5] and $8,009,024 including the holiday Monday.[6] In the end, the film only made $19,870,567 domestically on a $70 million budget[7] 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.[citation needed] Due to its poor box office performance in the US, the film was released straight to video in most countries.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

The film received negative reviews. One example of a positive review was on timeout.com,[8] 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".[9]

Hard Rain currently has a 29% rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes based on 41 reviews.[10]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The end credits state, "Produced in association with Marubeni/Toho-Towa, Tele-Munchen, BBC, UGC-PH and Nordisk Film".[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hard Rain. (DVD). Paramount Pictures. 1998. 
  2. ^ "Hard Rain (1998)". IMDb. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Hard Rain (1998) : Release Info". IMDb. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Hard Rain (1998)". IMDb. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Numbers - Weekend Box Office Chart for January 16, 1998". The-numbers.com. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "The Numbers - Daily Box Office Chart for Monday January 19, 1998". The-numbers.com. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Hard Rain". The-numbers.com. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "Hard Rain". Time Out London. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "Hard Rain - Starpulse.com". Starpulse. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]