December 1, 1996 -- "Daylight" is a by-the-numbers disaster movie that is long on visual effects and short on screenwriting.
The movie starts out by introducing all the people who are going to be caught in the collapse of an underground tunnel. Then the people get trapped and then they spend the rest of the film trying to get out.
The film owes much to several Irwin Allen disaster movies, including "The Poseidon Adventure," which just happens to be the first film set that "Daylight" director Rob Cohen ever worked on. Like "Poseidon" a diverse group of people finds itself trapped by rising water and they must find a way out. Also like "Poseidon" there's a scene where the trapped people have to swim underwater in order to get to a higher room. They even take three deep breaths, just like in "Poseidon," before going underwater.
"The Poseidon Adventure" starred Ernest Borgnine and Gene Hackman, among others. Unfortunately, this film has nobody who can come close to acting with either of those two men. Instead, it's got Sylvester Stallone as the hero, Kit Latura, and Amy Brennaman as the heroine, Madelyne Thompson. Brennaman is O.K., but doesn't have much to do other than serve as a mild love interest. She gets to scream a lot. Half the time I couldn't understand what Stallone was saying. Compared to him, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a master of elocution.
The special effects were adequate, but somewhat nullified by the fact that most of the film either happens at night, or in poorly-lit places. Special effects don't have to be very good if they happen in the dark. The subway tunnel isn't very interesting, compared to the upside-down ship in "Poseidon" or the skyscraper in "The Towering Inferno."
In all, it's a disappointing movie. I expected more interesting characters, but even the convicts, which could have been interesting, just seemed to be along for the ride. They didn't even try to escape. This film rates a D. If you want to see a good disaster film, rent "The Poseidon Adventure," "Die Hard" or "Under Siege." They are all much better than this.
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