Bargain Basement Films: Deadfall (1993)

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Following on from my post about Sarah Trigger yesterday – I had a look at her filmography and she appeared in a film called Deadfall, which was released in 1993. The photo I added to the post is a still from that film (I couldn’t find any good ones from “P.C.U.” or “Bill And Ted…”).

I couldn’t recall ever seeing it, or if I had, I completely forgot about it. Reading some online reviews, it seems it’s better that I did forget it. Directed by Christopher Coppola, but unfortunately showing none of the family-name’s flair – it stars Michael Biehn (who seemed to have wandered into B-movie territory in the early 90s after his Aliens triumph in the late 80s) and James Coburn, in a dual role, as crime-gang brothers. It purports to be a neo-film-noir, but according to what I’ve read, falls pretty short of the mark.

Sarah appears as “Diane”, part of Coburn’s con-game crew and girlfriend of “Eddie”. Now Eddie is pretty much why this film is even remembered, apparently. Played by Nicolas Cage, Eddie is a slimeball hitman/henchman to Coburn’s “Lou” (“Mike”, Coburn’s other character, is Lou’s brother). Cage, for some reason – maybe because he’s Coppola’s brother and was doing him a favour – decided to play the part as some sort of “Tony Clifton on meth” (as another reviewer described Cage’s…er…performance). Not only does he seem hopped-up on goofballs, he becomes goofballs. He talks in a strange staccato rhythm in an indiscernable accent, makes ridiculous hand-and-arm gestures and just generally hams-it-up in overdrive. Seriously, I’ve watched some clips and it makes his turn in the lame Wicker Man remake look like Peter O’Toole in Lawrence Of Arabia.

Biehn and Trigger try to play it straight, but are hampered with poor dialogue and a plot so over-done, you can see the double-and-triple crossings coming from miles away. Besides, whenever Cage is on-screen, his dynamo scenery-chewing dwarfs all of the other actors and dialogue. Cage’s character does get killed mid-way through the film, but then his absence leaves the rest of the proceedings fairly lifeless, aside from a cameo by Charlie Sheen, looking like he raided Hugh Hefner‘s wardrobe and a hair-product shelf in a Walgreen’s. I won’t even get into the other crime boss, with golden shears for a hand. You can read a full synopsis of the plot, such as it is, here.

Trigger also just seems to be far too fresh-faced and inexperienced to be the con-moll/femme fatale. Yes, she looks sexy in her stockings-and-basque outfit, but she just looks out of her depth playing this character. Why her character would shack up with a complete freakazoid like Eddie is beyond me as well.

Needless to say, the film bombed on it’s release – not even making back a fraction of it’s cost. Biehn and Trigger probably signed on thinking this would be a breakthrough picture, given the Hollyweird pedigree involved. Not to be – it was straight to late-night cable and the video shelves. I’m really, really surprised this one hasn’t become a midnight-cinema-gathering staple, much like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Room – seriously, there could be fun to be had with Cage’s screams, tantrums and nonsensical utterances.

You didn’t think I was going to end the post without showing a glimpse of “Eddie” in action, didja? Bask in the glory, my friends:

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