Rated: PG-13 For language. Reviewed by: Chris Release date: October 20, 1992 Released by: Columbia Pictures
Dustin Hoffman plays Bernie LaPlante, a most unlikely hero. He's a disagreeable, bad-tempered thief who is awaiting sentencing for selling stolen goods. His only redeeming quality is that he has a modicum of love for his young, impressionable son.
When Bernie's car breaks down at a crash site, he reluctantly helps save passengers from the downed airplane. With mud on his face and one shoe lost, this mysterious angel of mercy disappears into the night.
One of the people Bernie saves is hardened television news reporter, Gale Gayley (Geena Davis, Thelma and Louise). Her station offers a million dollars to the unknown man who saved 54 lives. Unfortunately, Bernie's in jail and a homeless man, John Bubber (Andy Garcia, Godfather III) says he was the hero and claims the reward,
Bubber is a journalist's dream -- he's a walking headline. He's sensitive, kind and articulate. He visits children's hospitals, preaches the plight of the homeless and inspires the public to do good.
Director Stephen Frears (The Grifters) has put together an impressive cast in this comedy/drama that portrays the media as a bunch who are motivated only by ratings points.
Hoffman does a cleaned-up version of his Midnight Cowboy character, Ratso Rizzo, an unsympathetic, nasty guy, who redeems himself slightly in the end. Davis is very good as the bitter newscaster who softens when she falls in love. Chevy Chase plays her boss in a funny cameo.
Hero is not a great film, but it's entertaining and makes you believe that anyone can be a hero, if the timing is right.