The Glimmer Man

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The Glimmer Man
Glimmer man.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Gray
Produced by
Written byKevin Brodbin
Music byTrevor Rabin
CinematographyRick Bota
Edited byDonn Cambern
Seagal/Nasso Productions
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • October 4, 1996 (1996-10-04)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$45 million[citation needed]
Box office$20,351,264[1]

The Glimmer Man is a 1996 American buddy cop action comedy film directed by John Gray, and produced by Steven Seagal. The film stars Seagal, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Bob Gunton, and Brian Cox. The film was released in the United States on October 4, 1996.

Seagal plays Lieutenant Jack Cole, a former government intelligence agent known as "The Glimmer Man", who now works as a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. Wayans co-stars as Cole's partner Detective Jim Campbell.


Jack Cole was once a CIA operative known as "The Glimmer Man," because he could move so quickly and quietly through the jungle that his victims would only see a glimmer before they died. Having retired from Central Intelligence, Cole–versed in Buddhism and unaccustomed to working with others–has become a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Cole is partnered with tough, no-nonsense detective Jim Campbell...who has little patience for Cole's New Age philosophies and "outsider" attitude. Cole and Campbell must set aside their differences when they're assigned to track down a serial killer known as "The Family Man," named for his habit of killing entire households.

The Family Man's latest victims turn out to be Cole's former wife Ellen and her current husband Andrew Dunleavy. When Cole's fingerprints are found on Ellen's body, he and Campbell suspect that Smith - Jack's former superior in the CIA - may be connected with the killings. Cole contacts Smith, who (unbeknownst to him and Campbell) has been working with local crime boss Frank Deverell.

Cole and Campbell receive a tip which leads them to Christopher Maynard. Maynard insists that the Family Man murders were actually committed by more than one killer. Only the slayings that occurred prior to Jack's arrival in Los Angeles were Maynard's work; more recently, a second party has been massacring households and blaming it on Maynard...whom Cole is forced to shoot in self defense.

Seeking a lead on the "other" Family Man, Cole goes to the home of Celia Rostov: Deverell's Russian translator and a recent victim of the serial killer. Jack finds out that the Rostovs had tickets to Russia, paid for by Deverell's company. The Family Man makes an unsuccessful attempt on the lives of both Cole and Campbell, blowing up the latter's apartment. It is revealed that the Family Man works for both Deverell and Smith, who have murder contracts out on both of the detectives...and also on Johnny, Deverell's own stepson.

Cole and Campbell chat with Johnny's girlfriend Millie, who tells them where to find Johnny. The detectives trick and kill a hitman sent by Johnny's stepfather. Johnny informs Campbell and Cole that Donald Cunningham, Deverell's private security chief, is the other Family Man...whose killings were confused with Maynard's. Johnny also reveals Smith's partnership with Deverell.

The detectives confront Smith, who reveals that Deverell has been smuggling chemical weapons into the USA from Russia...and selling said arms to the Serbian underworld. Smith is arranging contacts for the deal, which is being cut by the Russian Liberation Fighters (aka the Organizatsiya). The sale has been scheduled to take place at a welfare hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

When Cole and Campbell storm the hotel to disrupt the weapons deal, Cunningham kills Deverell (because Deverell set up Cunningham for the LAPD, in order to clear himself of the arms-running charges) and wounds Jim. Cole fights Cunningham, who is finally tossed through a window and impaled on a wrought iron fence. Campbell half-jokes that Cole has brought him nothing but bad luck ever since they became partners. Cole says he'll keep that in mind, as Campbell is driven off to the hospital.




In the original screenplay which was 114 pages long, Cole was called Calhoun, Campbell was named Leary and Donald Cunningham was called Abraham.

Originally envisioned as a much larger action picture, similar in scope to The Last Boy Scout (1991), which starred Wayans' brother Damon Wayans. Several action scenes were removed to cut down the budget. They included the bombing of a boat owned by Campbell (who lived on a houseboat instead of an apartment), an encounter between Cole and a SWAT team, who have raided his house, and the final confrontation/gunfight at the LA museum.

Roland Joffé was originally considered to direct the picture.

Brian Cox's character Mr. Smith was originally intended for Steven Seagal's Under Siege co-star Tommy Lee Jones, and he was attached to the film before leaving shortly before filming began. Cox replaced him on very short notice.


Filming was shot on location in and around Los Angeles and California.

After the film was completed, just like they did with his other films he made for them, Warner Bros. conducted additional editing on the film to make it faster and more like a regular Steven Seagal movie. Cut scenes included several comedic and dramatic exchanges between Campbell and Cole and a great deal of Michelle Johnson's scenes, as Cole's wife, Jessica, were cut.

According to Stephen Tobolowsky, Steven Seagal wanted to change the scene in which Cole (Seagal) kills Maynard (Tobolowsky). Due to his spiritual beliefs, Seagal did not want to kill villains in his movies anymore. Tobolowsky convinced Seagal that Maynard would be able to be reincarnated and redeemed by being killed. Seagal agreed and the scene was filmed as written. But months later, Seagal wanted to change the scene to show that Maynard survived the shooting. Tobolowsky was brought in to overdub lines to indicate that Maynard was still alive. But this was not used in the final cut.[2]

Seagal wrote two original songs for the film, "Bulletproof" and "Snake", performed by the Jeff Healey Band and Taj Mahal, respectively.

Trevor Rabin, formerly of Yes, composed the score, his first as a film music composer. He has since composed scores for many other films.


Box office[edit]

The film debuted at No. 2 at the box office behind The First Wives Club,[3] but despite this the film was an overall box office flop grossing only $20,351,264, in North America,[1] against an estimated production budget of $45 million.

Critical response[edit]

The film received mostly negative reviews from the film critics. Critic Lawrence van Gelder, writing for The New York Times, did not like the film. He wrote,

Short on suspense, routine in its action and monotonous in its performances, this movie opened yesterday without benefit of press screenings, usually a sign that the distributors have detected cinematic rigor mortis before audiences formally withdraw such life support systems as tickets, popcorn and the glucose drip of spilled Coke.[4]

Leonard Klady of Variety magazine gave the film a negative review: "For a rock'em, sock'em action thriller, "The Glimmer Man" is a hopelessly slow-moving, slow-witted shaggy-dog tale that delivers the jolts but lacks the juice necessary for high-voltage entertainment."[5]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a score of 12% based on 26 reviews.[6] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 33% based on reviews from 16 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[7] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[8]


  1. ^ a b "The Glimmer Man (1996)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  2. ^ Stories about Seagal (from director's , co-stars....) Unofficial Steven Seagal
  3. ^ Puig, Claudia (October 8, 1996). "Weekend Box Office". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  4. ^ van Gelder, Lawrence. The New York Times, film review, "Peaceful Man With a Flair for Violence," October 5, 1996.
  5. ^ Klady, Leonard (October 7, 1996). "The Glimmer Man". Variety.
  6. ^ "The Glimmer Man (1996)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  7. ^ "The Glimmer Man". Metacritic. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  8. ^ "CinemaScore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.

External links[edit]