THE WALTER HILL COLLECTION
This fine six-film box set is an overdue celebration of a writer, producer and director who has always preferred revealing characters through drama rather than explaining them through dialogue. Hill’s distinctive visual style and flair for action are amply demonstrated in this selection.
Dialogue is minimal in The Driver (1978), starring Ryan O’Neal as an ace getaway driver and Bruce Dern as the detective on his trail – and some of the best car crashes ever filmed. Hill cited Xenophon as inspiration for The Warriors (1979), his arresting cult picture of rival New York street gangs.
The Long Riders (1980) features real-life brothers David, Keith and
Robert Carradine, Stacy and James Keach, and Dennis and Randy Quaid as the Younger, James and Miller brothers. It features a terrific Ry Cooder score, as does Hill’s Vietnam allegory Southern Comfort (1981), a powerful, atmospheric drama of a National Guard unit lost and imperilled in the Louisiana bayous.
Extreme Prejudice (1987) sets up a mythic conflict between good and evil, as personified by a dogged Texas Ranger (Nick Nolte) and a drugs baron (Powers Boothe). It is tough and violent, like many Hill movies, but not as much as Johnny Handsome (1989), starring Mickey Rourke (pictured above with Ellen Barkin) as a disfigured criminal who undergoes plastic surgery.
The set includes trailers and an interview with Hill.
18 cert Based on a James Ellroy story, Ayer’s disappointingly conventional thriller depicts Los Angeles as a city rife with police corruption. Reeves is impressive as a maverick vice squad detective drinking heavily since the death of his wife. The action sequences, which are many and violent, are well staged.
15 cert A hitherto blind concert violinist encounters worrying visions after receiving a cornea transplant. There are some good things in this latest adaptation of an Asian horror film: eerie visuals, impressive sense of foreboding. But Alba's usual flat performance kills the picture dead within 20 minutes.
18 cert Scotland is placed under quarantine when millions are infected with a fatal virus in Marshall’s risibly scripted, frenetically edited and wearisomely familiar futuristic yarn.
Directed by David Ayer. Starring Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker, Chris Evans, Hugh Laurie
Directed by David Moreau, Xavier Palud. Starring Jessica Alba, Parker Posey, Alessandro Nivola
Directed by Neil Marshall. Starring Rhona Mitri, Bob Hoskins, Adrian Lester, David O’Hara, Sean Pertwee, Malcolm McDowell