Reviewed by: Ken James
“Daylight” won’t leave you in the dark if you are searching for an action movie void of nudity, sex, and violence. While bits of the plot from Sylvester Stallone’s latest movie may remind you of a dozen other action-disasters, this one has a sense of plausibility—it could potentially happen in real life. This factor makes it even more frightening and may cause some bad cases of “tunnel-phobia”.
Set in New York City, an aging underwater commuter tunnel linking New York and New Jersey collapses on both ends in several large-scale explosions. While most of the travelers in the tunnel are killed instantly, there are some survivors struggling to find their way out before drowning, electrocution, burning, or being overcome by toxic fumes—all before the tunnel inevitably collapses. Sylvester Stallone is a cab driver and former Emergency Medical Service team chief, recently involved in a scandal which lead to the death of a coworker on his team. Stallone just happens to be in the right place at the right time and willing to do the impossible. While a dozen or so people are desperately trying to find their way out of the tunnel, Stallone is fighting his way in to make a daring rescue. Survivors include a young playwright (Amy Brenneman), a vacationing family from Ohio, a half-dozen correctional-institution teens (one of which is Stallon’s real-life son), an upper-class couple and their dog (Bloom and Colin Fox), a sportswear company CEO focused on self-promotion (Viggo Mortensen); and the hard-working and lovable tunnel police officer (Stan Shaw), whose girlfriend (Vanessa Bell Calloway) is above ground, monitoring the situation with the Tunnel and Bridge Authority.
On the bright side of “Daylight”, the special effects were well done, as audiences have come to expect in high-budget Hollywood productions. But on the darker side, the daring entrance Stallone takes into the tunnel is so far-fetched he receives little pity as he weaves through four huge ventilation fans. The plot, too, could stand to borrow a little less from other disaster films.
Rather than making statements about God, whether good or bad, “Daylight” seems to forego the whole subject. But one does find themselves being put into the shoes of the survivors, ultimately questioning God’s plan: “Why would He allow so many people to die such a horrible death?” A non-visual reference to an extra-marital sexual affair is dealt with briefly as well. Rather than choosing the course of so many other films, this affair (between the woman playright and someone elses husband) is looked upon very regretably and disdainfully, and is never even shown (to the delight of many who feel that Hollywood takes every opportunity to put a sex scene in, even if there is no relation to the plot). It is because of the dozen or so profanities used, and the high level of action-suspense-danger, that the film maintains a “PG-13” rating.
Stallone emerges a hero in “Daylight”—both in the script, and in the hearts of many who are dying to find a protaganist with a respectable character and good nature who has more in his voacabulary than four letter words.
Year of Release—1996