Review of 'The Saint'

the_saint.jpg I am a big fan of the original 1960s Saint television show staring a very young Roger Moore with his beautiful Volvo car. He managed to exude the air of 007 before he became the character on the big screen yet at the same time keep a bit of naughtiness in the character who, after all, is a thief, albeit a thief with a big heart. Even Val Kilmer's outing on the big screen in 1997 was pretty good though more heavy on the action than I would have liked. Seeing “The Saint” once again popping up in my Netflix recommendations, this time from 2017, I was keen to see what a more contemporary take would be like on such a likeable character.

Yeah, I was not impressed.

When $2.5 billion of aid for Nigeria is diverted, international master thief Simon Templar (Adam Rayner), aka, “The Saint” is asked to track down who has stolen it. Simon eventually tracks down Arnold Valecross (James Remar) a private banker with criminal ties. Valecross explains that his daughter is being held for ransom but before anything further can happen Valecross is killed. This will be tricky given that Special Agent John Henry Fernack (Enrique Murciano) is hot on his heels but Simon will have some help from his past…

This is the story as I read on Wikipedia though much simplified. It is all quite a mess. Goodness knows I did not get it when I was watching the film with one sequence mashed up against the next with only the barest attempts at any big-screen action. The bit with the helicopter crashing - you never see this, of course, that would have broken the budget but when it is on the lawn with some small fires around it, then has a big fiery explosion, fatally, the filmmakers show it afterwards not having any additional scratches on it as if no explosion had happened at all. Things happen in the film that do not really make a lot of sense even when reading the synopsis. What is interesting is that we do learn a bit about the Saint though the ultimate revelation is not much of a surprise as the one clue has repeatedly been shown to us throughout the film.

The acting is average, the action very much a “made for TV” affair with sequences looking like they came out of an average episode of MacGyver or Hawaii-Five-O though, to be fair, the bar has really been raised in recent years by TV shows such as these with ever more cinema-worthy efforts hitting the small screen (Star Trek Discovery anyone?). This feels like a throw-back to the TV of the 80s and 90s…It is most definitely not what modern audiences would expect from a TV movie nowadays and feels more like an attempt to capitalize on a much-loved property and character.

Putting aside the film, which is awful, there is a nice cameo from Roger Moore towards the end as a bit of a baddie. But he really far outclasses anything that had come in the previous 80 some-odd minutes. Shame that this film was to be his last.

Rating: “A slight glimmer of hope, but mostly awful”

Review Date: 2020-10-18

Directed by: Ernie Barbarash

Studio: otion Picture Corporation of America (MPCA)

Year: 2017

Length: 91 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure