Daylight (1996) – Review

3 Stars

From the time prolific producer Irwin Allen, who started the “disaster movie” craze and subsequently destroyed his creation with the release of When Time Ran Out in 1980, and all throughout the course of the 1980’s to the mid-1990’s, there was a silent moratorium on the genre. Independence Day and Daylight were attempts at restarting the momentum that would result in James Cameron’s Titanic in 1997. But, for nearly a decade and a half, there was a long stretch without a big-budget, star-driven disaster flick hitting screens. Daylight is a throwback to those shaky (no, pun) event movies that prospered during the 1970’s. The action has been set in a tunnel and the special effects are first-rate, but the story’s predictability becomes a liability as the film goes on.

A massive explosion rips through a Manhattan commuter tunnel, killing hundreds in their cars and trapping the survivors deep beneath the Hudson River. The air is toxic, and hope is non-existent until EMS specialist Kit Latura (Sylvester Stallone) shows up. He was one of the best rescue techs in the business before being thrown out of the industry on a bogus charge. Now, Latura is the only one with the experience and guts to get these people out.

Daylight is an often effective action drama with a toned-down Stallone playing a recognizable human being. The complications continually mount against the trapped survivors, but the film’s most thrilling set-piece is a sequence that features our hero descending into the tunnel through a ventilation system consisted of intricately timed fans. This scene contains the type of anxiety and nerve-wracking tension that the rest of the picture needs, the movie sets itself a high-bar during this portion and then fails to match it. Still, it’s a well crafted and professionally executed action/drama.

Director: Rob Cohen
Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Amy Brenneman, Viggo Mortensen

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