Viggo Mortensen

Viggo Mortensen
Daylight - 1996

Daylight is a traditional "disaster in New York" story, with Sylvester Stallone playing the fired Chief who redeems himself by saving people from a tunnel collapse. Given that short blurb, you can probably now plot out the entire movie, from start to finish :)

First, you go through the traditional "meet all the characters" scenes. There are fractured families, an older couple, a young struggling author, a prison transport. Throw in some unscrupulous toxic chemical transporters and a trio of insane diamond thieves, and the disaster is telegraphed from the beginning. There's no surprise, and no sense of "story" as it begins. It is very blatantly a "let's see each person start as selfish / uncaring so we can watch them grow".

Then BOOM! One thing you can say for this movie is that it has some pretty cool special effects. The scenes of the fiery blast shooting through the tunnel and taking it down are pretty impressive. We went back on the DVD and watched that part again. Even while we were watching it, though, we were pretty incredulous that anybody in that blast would have survived enough to let the movie continue. We've seen enough disaster recreations on TV to know what that type of fireball does to people. But of course, this is Hollywood, and while most people are completely slain, you end up with about 12 people trapped within the tunnel who are all perfectly able to walk and talk. There's nobody in between. Hmmmmmm.

Viggo Mortensen

While Stallone goes through some insanely silly moves through moving fans to get IN to the troubled group, Viggo Mortensen gets his moment to shine as Nord (yes, that's really his name), the mountain climber / rich company leader. Nord is shown as a blondeish (of course) super-sure-of-himself man who has taken on every challenge in life. Luckily, Nord is trapped in the tunnel with all his rock climbing equipment. So he tells everyone he is going to save them, tells them to pray, and heads up into a shaft to climb out. Stallone tries to warn Nord that the shaft is shaky, and for some boneheaded reason, Nord's response is "don't worry, I'm invincible!" OK, he doesn't quite say that, but he doesn't pay attention to the creaks and groans of the area around him. It is really hard to believe that someone as successful as Nord in extreme situations would have possible not gone more cautiously into this current one. Sure enough, Stallone is correct, Nord is squished, and Viggo's light is put out.

Stallone then quickly goes on to do even MORE ridiculous things than Nord was attempting, but of course being the hero, Stallone's various efforts work out pretty nicely.

I realize of course that the movie aims to show how everyone deals with stress poorly and then finally bands together as a team to help each other out, but it was REALLY annoying how certain characters kept turning into insane complainers. Sure, there will be one or two whiners in a crowd. But I think it was way overblown here. Instead of having the movie one where we could sympathize with the characters going "against the odds" - you really wanted to see most of the characters killed off. Quickly. Surprisingly, they really do kill off far more characters than one would expect in a movie like this.

Viggo Mortensen

But, of course, the Guy Gets the Girl, and enough people survive to make the whole ordeal worth it. Unfortunately, the movie ends with perhaps one of the worst ending lines ever made in a movie. You'll have to wait and judge that one for yourself.

A fun disaster flick with some great fiery moments - just don't expect compelling character development or much of a plot in this one. And as a safety note, contrary to what the movie says, the reason you want to be in a car during an electrical storm is NOT that the tires are rubber. Studies show that the amount of rubber on a tire is completely meaningless when compared with a bolt of lightning. It's the metal cage of the car that protects you from the electrical strike.

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