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Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Saint (1997) - An adventure

Some years back, the quest to make limitless energy from the concept of cold fusion seemed like the answer to our energy ills; it was propounded as the next frontier in research - unfortunately, the entire research imploded in a drama of falsehood and accusations. The Saint, use the theme of cold fusion as the central scientific thread running through the movie. However, the movie is more than that. It gives the 2 main characters of Val Kilmer and Elizabeth Shue a good platform to display their acting abilities, and I liked Val Kilmer in this role.
The Saint is not a new concept, being based on the main characters of Simon Templar in the series of books (created in 1928) by Leslie Charteris; these books were published under the series 'The Saint'. These series finally ended in 1983, and also found their way into multiple movies, a radio series of the 1940's, a British television series starring Roger Moore, and others.

The Saint (1997)

In a slight deviation from the original, this movie does not have the hero claiming to be the character from the book, but the name is instead combined from 2 names, Simon from Simon Magus, and Templar from the Knights Templar, a medieval sect of warriors. The movie also had an interesting twist; in the original version, the female lead, Dr. Emma Russell is killed and Simon Templar goes back to do battle, to avenge her, leading to a final climatic battle with guns, tanks, exploding oil, and so on. However, test audiences did not like this ending, and the movie ending had to be changed drastically, ending in the current form.
The movie has a fair amount of adventure and action, with some amount of unbelievability. To be able to get into the Russian President's bedroom, bypassing his entire security, and that too without much external support seems somewhat difficult, but the Saint managed it without too much effort.
The movie is essentially about the scientific efforts of Dr. Emma Russell, who is developing the formula for cold fusion, and has achieved some success in it. On the other hand, there is Simon, who has been tormenting the British police with his various heists, committed under different names (each name being that of a different saint). He has one final heist left so that he can reach the $50 million mark. This comes to him in the form of a Russian oligarch, Ivan Tretiak, who wants to get the Presidency of the Russian Federation, and wants to hire The Saint to steal it. After some hesitation, when threatened with the death of Dr. Emma, Simon agrees to do it.
He woos Dr. Emma, steals it and then turns it overs to Ivan. It is however incomplete. In the meantime, Dr. Emma comes to Moscow after him; and Tretiak is now after both of them.
The action gets more heated up, and leads to the Russian President's bedroom where Simon bursts in, and then Tretiak and his son comes in to capture both of them. Tretiak plans to expose the President's wasteful expenditure in buying such a formula in a show trial. However, during this process, the missing part of the formula is released, and the experiment is shown to be a grand success. The President quickly resumes power. There is a final tease scene where The Saint shows himself to British police, and then meets Dr. Emma.

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