Rated: R for language and graphic violence. Reviewed by: Chris Release date: July 1, 1994 Released by: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Mad bombers seem to be a popular subject for movies this summer. Besides the enormously successful Speed, this film also deals with a psycho who gets his kicks out of killing innocent people with huge bomb blasts.
The madman in this case is Ryan Gaerity (Tommy Lee Jones, looking more scruffy than usual), an Irish revolutionist, who has spent most of his life in prison. After rigging a bomb in his Irish cell, he escapes and heads for the United States.
Gaerity ends up in Boston, where he recognizes a police bomb expert on the TY news. Jeff Bridges plays Jimmy Dove, an old friend of Gaerity's from Ireland, whom Gaerity blamed for his sister's death. So, Gaerity systematically goes about setting up bombs to kill Dove's coworkers and family.
Instead of a nonstop chase film, this is a really good, complex story that links up these two lead characters. Director Stephen Hopkins also uses the intricate close-up workings of each bomb so they almost become another character. Gaerity creates a number of different mechanisms and triggering devices to complicate things for the bomb squad, which has the audience flinching at every small movement, nervously anticipating the next explosion.
A good supporting cast has Jeff Bridges' father, Lloyd as his crusty Irish uncle, with full white beard and thick brogue, and Forest Whitaker as a rookie bomb squad police officer, who suspects the Gaerity might have personal reasons for focusing on Dove's friends and family.
Jones' dynamic personality usually takes over the screen but here he's more low-key, hiding out in the dark hull of a ship, listening to U2's music and constructing his bombs from bits and pieces of scrap. Jeff Bridges is good as the hero, a guy who's trying to make up for his past.