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Live Wire
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by Jack Sommersby

"A Bomb, Alright"
1 stars

Went straight to home video where it rightly died a VHS death.

Because of his contractual agreement to the television series Remington Steele, the Irish actor Pierce Brosnan was unable to accept the world-renowned role of James Bond to replace the past-his-prime Roger Moore, much like Tom Selleck was unable to play Indiana Jones because of his commitment to another television series, Magnum P.I. (Then again, neither actor would’ve been offered the role in the first place if not for the wide exposure their high-Nielsen-rating series afforded them, so any chagrin on their part would be misplaced.) When Brosnan did get his first starring role in a motion picture, it was in the near-incomprehensible L.A.-set supernatural tale Nomads, where, against all odds, he was mesmerizing as a gradually-driven-mad French anthropologist; and a year later he was quietly eerie opposite Michael Caine as a Russian terrorist in the fine The Fourth Protocol. From here were two wretched films, Taffin and The Deceivers, and two underrated gems, Mister Johnson and The Lawnmower Man. Which brings us to the ludicrous, sloppily plotted Live Wire, an action thriller set in Washington D.C. that finds Brosnan as FBI bomb-disposal expert Danny O’Neill whose unexplained financial prosperity is the only thing that stirs the viewer’s interest. He has a huge house in a posh neighborhood that would easily go for a cool three-million minimum, drives a new-model Mercedes convertible, wears snazzy suits, and because he’s recently estranged from his wife, Terry (the underused Lisa Eilbacher), he’s currently living in a fancy downtown loft with so many square feet Sergio Leone would’ve felt comfortable shooting a scene in. Terry works as a senator’s assistant, which is hardly high-paying; and when Danny questions the senator’s claim that he’s not corrupt even though he’s clearly living beyond his means, we want to say to the screen, “Explain. You first, Danny!” Of course, if the screenplay were worth a damn and contained even so much as an iota of genuine wit, we wouldn’t be thinking that a forensic accountant would perhaps be more problematic to Danny than the dastardly villain who’s blowing up senators who owe him ten-million dollars on some off-the-books arms deal through an invention involving mixing a chemical into simple beverages that turns the consumer into their own self-destructing bomb. Conveniently, Terry has begun an affair with her boss (an embarrassed-looking Ron Silver), who’s next on the villain’s list (the villain hammily played by the miscast Ben Cross), and just so Danny can have two enemies along with an in-danger spouse. Especially dreadful is a weird water-is-death mantra in having a judge and senator meet their demises with the drinking of water, Danny's young daughter having drowned in the home swimming pool, and a kid’s fountain laced with that secret chemical (while tots are known to jump in a fountain, they’re not known to drink from one, which is the only way this intended bomb could activate). The dialogue is so wooden it could be used to make least a dozen hobby horses, the characters one-and-a-half-dimensional at best, the direction mediocre, the action sequences choppy, the suspense practically nonexistent. Granted, Brosnan is his usual dependable self and manages to sustain an internal tension, and the related opening and closing scenes are rather humorous, but by and large Live Wire (infinitely inferior to the little-seen 1974 Juggernaut) is to quality cinema what Danny’s material extravagances are to his law-enforcement salary.

Well, you *do* get to see the gorgeous Eilbacher's luscious boobs...

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=19103&reviewer=327
originally posted: 07/28/18 06:04:10
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USA
  03-Sep-1992 (R)

UK
  N/A (15)

Australia
  N/A (M)


Directed by
  Christian Duguay

Written by
  Bart Baker

Cast
  Pierce Brosnan
  Lisa Eilbacher
  Ron Silver
  Ben Cross
  Philip Baker Hall



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