I came across this film on a lucky, lazy Sunday when I felt relegated to my couch and too lethargic to pop in a DVD or search my Netflix instant queue. I was open to taking a visual stroll down memory lane, back to 1997, when I was a pre-teen, man-crazy, enraged with hormones but unaware of how to process it, and too scared to find out. So movies with hot men were my porn, sorry if it’s too much information. If you’re cringing now, stop reading. This gets worse. No, seriously, if you’ve changed my diaper or known me well pre-puberty, save yourself now and read my review of something more innocent and sweet, if that exists. This is a truthful facet to me as a woman and me as a developing girl. Some material may not be suitable for your stomach or brain. I understand. Don’t judge me. Just don’t read. I bet you will, though, because you too harbor these same thoughts and tendencies, and there is not a damn thing wrong with it. So I have a big, over two decade long crush on Val Kilmer. Most of you reading this are aware, because you know me and are kind enough to humor me by reading these articles, but for those who don’t know me well, yes, I know he has not aged super well and that he probably is involved in some pretty weird shit. I like it. I’m loyal. I’m game. Leave me alone. The heart (loins) wants what it wants. I share in this crush with a few trustworthy, respectable people so I stand by it.
Because of this ridiculous crush, and my dog-like loyalty, I’ve seen every single Val Kilmer flick, good or bad, large roles or small, before 2006 (not including, of course, the wonderful MacGruber of the year 2010). I’ve sat through movies about lions, American Indian Reservation crime, some really classic 80’s guilty pleasures and some really dark early 2000’s work. My favorite movie starring this masculine jawed man in his prime (beyond his prime, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, classic.), is and always will be, the Saint. Say what you will, laugh, cry, feel nothing, this movie is fun, start to finish.
It begins with Val as a hot young kid called John Rossi (yes, even the kid was attractive) in some sort of dark, creepy church where he and other attractive orphans lived (Do people really give up cute babies? I doubt it.). You see him being crafty, sneaking behind nuns’ backs, leading the other child followers astray, in mostly harmless and somewhat rebellious ways. Through some bizarre turn of events, Simon’s sweet and innocent girlfriend falls off a balcony and dies. Yep, dark. Then with a movie magic close-up into the kid’s eyes we’re transported to 25 years later with the delectable adult, now called Simon Templar, and we’re clued into how his mischievous behavior as a child manifested later in life.
Then the fun really begins. Simon is essentially involved in international hijinks, spy type missions that make him boat loads of money. He ends up involved with shady, powerful people, all leading to the biggest job and the meat of the movie, stealing the formula for cold fusion for Russia’s greedy, power-hungry billionaire, Ivan Tretiak(think of a crazier, oilier Dick Cheney). What ensues is a very entertaining spy-thriller, with our globe-trotting, high-class thief in a back and forth chase with the crooked politician and his goons.
What gives this movie its essence and makes it eternally watchable, is the emerging romance/sexual encounters between Simon and our cold fusion scientist with whom he must seduce (in one of many disguises) and then rob, Dr. Emma Russell, played adorably by Elizabeth Shue. The chemistry between the two actors drives the sexual tension and the eventual double entendres that predominate this delightful script. There’s an actual “while you’re down there” moment and it’s excellent. They have some very passionate, very “method” tonguey kisses. For a 12-13 year old, it’s all I needed.
The movie teeters on cheesy regarding the romance, but there’s enough time apart and they’re too busy surviving and restoring Moscow’s faith in their president while fucking over Tretiak financially and politically, even instilling some serious two-face like burns in Tretiak’s son’s face. It’s an hour and 40 minutes of Val Kilmer playing a variety of characters all named for Catholic saints, MacGyvering his way through London and Moscow, in and out of ladies pants, all to acquire 50 million dollars and then apparently retire to an island somewhere with a hoard of prostitutes. Or just Elizabeth Shue, I’m still not entirely aware of his post-career dream life.
I’m now going to provide the very funny moments and quotes that make my still adolescent mind giggle and blush.
-Tretiak’s son tells Val/Simon to “Suck me, sideways.” The reaction shot is pretty stellar.
-Val Kilmer’s character, in an attempt to seduce the very smart but very naive Elizabeth Shue, lays very suggestively on a bench while sketching a sculpture (of a naked man). He has long flowing hair and his voice sounds like sex. Maybe I’m grasping at straws but I doubt it.
-He seals the deal within hours, after purposely leaving his journal behind, in which he writes a very sweet but suggestive poem. Their conversation is full of adult humor and double entendres, like any good first date.
-Elizabeth Shue eats pills out of Val Kilmer’s hands, on her knees, then proceeds to swallow them in an all too pleasurable way.
-He then picks this moment to say “While you’re down there...” In context, like with anything, it makes sense.
-At one point he dives into a frozen river to save these previously downed pills, thus inspiring a naked, let’s lay on each other so you don’t freeze to death moment.
-There’s a scene that’s a metaphor for an orgasm, I’m sure of it. They’re in a tunnel, water is rushing in, Val Kilmer’s masculinely trying to open this sewer manhole cover thing, the suspense builds, and builds, and then they both miraculously emerge out of the hole in a rush of relief and excitement.
-After their big survival release, they’re conveniently stuck under a car, with view of the American embassy. Watching the boots of the enemy walk by just feet away, Val inspires Elizabeth to run for it, and she does, soon to be followed by Tretiak’s son, and the noises emitting from both of their mouths could be soundbites in any snuff film.
Whew. I need a cigarette. This movie is so hyper-PG13-sexual I can’t stand it. I never tire of this flick. Ever. It’s a fun, suspenseful, beautiful ride, with plenty of romps in the sack or allusions to the act to keep anyone with a pulse interested. Val is at his pinnacle of hotness and charisma. He carries the film and the role with great bravado and humor. He takes charge, makes clever decisions, witty remarks, and could charm the panties off a nun.
My enthusiasm for this film is laced pretty thick with irony. I see it for what it is and I laugh at it, and myself, as I watch it repeatedly. We all have those guilty pleasures. For many of you it’s the Jersey Shore, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Transformers or some other terrible Michael Bay movie, and for me, it’s movies like this; movies that never exceed that B- status but for some reason are really satisfying to watch. I equate it also to those fast food cravings or crappy delivery pizza. It’s still pizza, I’ll eat it. I hadn’t seen the Saint in years, but I was beyond stoked when I saw it on and I enjoyed every lusty minute of it.
The preview below is pure movie trailer awesomeness. Tells you all you need to know.
Don’t make it a habit, but feel free to be mentally and physically lazy every now again, especially if it somehow involves Val Kilmer. Yum. Enjoy.