Terminal Velocity sprang from the mind of writer David Twohy. Those familiar with the screenwriters’ work will recognize the hallmarks of his writing, quick-witted hero, beautiful and equally tough femme fatale, clichés turned on their ear. This was the second movie of 1994 to feature sky-diving and other extreme sports, which feels reactionary in the surprise and enduring success of the classic movie, Point Break.
Ditch Brody (Charlie Sheen) is a daredevil skydiving instructor, his recent free fall into the city streets of Phoenix, Az. have gotten him a record 12 violations in a month’s time. Grounded for insubordination by his boss, Ditch is allowed to jump again when a sexy, mysterious beauty (Nastassja Kinski) walks into the school requesting a lesson from him personally.
In the air a mishap occurs resulting in the woman plunging to her death. Suddenly, Ditch finds himself the target of a homicide investigation and the focus of the national media. Then evidence appears that the woman may have faked her own death. Brody hurls himself into seeking out the truth to exonerate himself, but his efforts eventually lead him into a nightmare world of deceit and renegade KGB agents.
Velocity starts out at a breakneck pace and never lets up, it’s an exuberant, humorous, and rousing action-adventure. Sheen is well-cast in a role that would have been otherwise occupied by Tom Cruise. Looking back this would be the last straight up action role for the man with tiger’s blood, and he’s damn good in it. I think if Terminal Velocity had been released a year earlier or later, we would regard it as a classic. It was unfairly over-looked by audiences high on the adrenaline rush of Keanu’s Speed and Arnold’s True Lies. In retrospect Velocity holds up just as well, if not better than either of those titles.
Director: Deran Sarafian
Stars: Charlie Sheen, Nastassja Kinski, James Gandolfini