The Glimmer Man

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The Glimmer Man
Glimmer man.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Gray
Produced byJulius R. Nasso
Steven Seagal
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 thriller film directed by John Gray,[2] and produced by Steven Seagal, who also starred in the film. The film also co-stars Keenen Ivory Wayans, Bob Gunton, and Brian Cox. The film was released in the United States on October 4, 1996.

Seagal plays Jack Cole, a former government intelligence 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. He now works as a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. Wayans co-stars as Cole's partner Detective Jim Campbell.


Jack Cole (Steven Seagal) was once a government intelligence 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 left the Glimmer Man job behind him, Cole—steeped in buddhism and not used to working with others has become a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Cole is partnered with Jim Campbell (Keenen Ivory Wayans), a tough, no-nonsense cop who has little patience for Cole's New Age philosophies and outsider attitude. Cole and Campbell have to set aside their differences when they're assigned to track down a serial killer called "The Family Man," 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—and Cole's fingerprints are found on Ellen's body. Cole and Campbell think that Cole's former bosses in the government may somehow be involved in the killings. Cole contacts his friend Smith (Brian Cox), unaware that he has been working with local crime boss Frank Deverell (Bob Gunton).

Cole and Campbell receive a tip that leads them to Christopher Maynard (Stephen Tobolowsky), who admits that he committed the Family Man murders that happened before Cole arrived in Los Angeles. Someone else has been committing the more recent murders and making it look like Maynard's work. Cole fatally shoots Maynard in self defense.

Cole, hoping to get a lead on the new killer, goes to the home of Deverell's Russian translator Celia Roslov (Susan Reno), who was a victim of the killer. Cole finds out that the Roslovs had tickets to Russia paid by Deverell's company. The killer attacks Cole, and later sets Campbell's home on fire after a discussion between Smith and Deverell to kill Campbell, Cole and Johnny (Johnny Strong), Deverell's stepson.

Cole and Campbell discover that Deverell's stepson Johnny (Johnny Strong) knows some important information. Johnny tells Cole and Campbell that Deverell's right-hand man, Donald Cunningham (John M. Jackson), is the new killer who has been making his killings look like Maynard's work.

Johnny also tells them that Smith has been working with Deverell. Cole and Campbell confront Smith, and torture him into revealing that Deverell is smuggling chemical weapons into the USA from Russia, with plans to sell the weapons to the Serbian mafia. Smith made the contacts, with the deal being cut by the Russian mafia known as the Russian Liberation Fighters. The meeting for the deal is scheduled to take place at a downtown welfare hotel. Cole and Campbell storm the hotel, where Cunningham fatally shoots Deverell, and Cole kills Cunningham by throwing him through a window and onto a wrought iron fence below. Campbell, having been shot, tells Cole that, ever since he met him, he's been nothing but trouble. Cole says he'll keep that in mind, as Campbell is taken away in an ambulance.




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.[3]

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.


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]

As of November 2017, Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 12% based on 25 reviews.[5]

Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[6]

Box office[edit]

The film debuted at No. 2 at the box office behind The First Wives Club,[7] 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.[2]


  1. ^ a b "The Glimmer Man (1996) - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  2. ^ a b The Glimmer Man on IMDb
  3. ^
  4. ^ van Gelder, Lawrence. The New York Times, film review, "Peaceful Man With a Flair for Violence," October 5, 1996.
  5. ^ The Glimmer Man at Rotten Tomatoes, Accessed November 28, 2017.
  6. ^ "CinemaScore".
  7. ^ Puig, Claudia (October 8, 1996). "Weekend Box Office". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 1, 2011.

External links[edit]