Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Nick of Time


Here’s one of the dumbest thrillers I’ve ever seen. Johnny Depp is a devoted father who is hoodwinked at the Union Station in Los Angeles by Chris Walken and a female accomplice posing as cops, resulting in the kidnapping of his little daughter. Walken hands him a gun and informs him that unless he goes to the Bonaventure Hotel and kills a certain woman, they will kill his daughter. Sure enough, she turns out to be Marsha Mason, the governor.

A possibly interesting premise, if they had just let it play out reasonably. Depp is thwarted at every turn, naturally, by Walken, who if he stuck any closer would be his Siamese twin. I mean, really, Johnny can’t turn a corner without Walken showing up, threatening him and his daughter, pistol whipping him, once actually grabbing him by the seat of his pants and propelling him toward the governor. And Depp has no trouble getting close to her, because the guy who is handling the electronic pat-downs is part of the plot, as is the head of security, as is … oh, well, I counted at least eight people who were in on this. Even Inspector Clouseau would have had no trouble at all unraveling this idiot scheme in about ten minutes after the killing. One of the conspirators even points out that a high-powered rifle from across the street would have done the same thing. This is a made-for-the-movies plot, no one would be this stupid.

Well, possibly the father would have been as stupid as he is here, since he’s an “ordinary man.” I kept wishing I could whisper in his ear: “Listen, numbnuts, they are going to kill your daughter no matter what you do. So plan your every move with that in mind. Kill Walken any way you can, then go out to the van (which they have stupidly parked across the street, to put more pressure on him, I guess) with guns blazing. No matter what happens, it can’t be worse than what was already going to happen.” But no. Nobody in the movies except maybe Liam Neeson would think like that.