Next in my drawer is a movie from 1997, The Saint. I don’t recall exactly how I acquired the DVD, but it is a favorite of mine. It’s not a standout in special effects or even inspired dialogue, but the premise is sound, the acting pretty good, and it has a happy ending. The film is rated PG-13 for action violence, brief strong language, some sensuality, and drug content.
Simon Templar (Val Kilmer) is the Saint; the aliases he takes are the names of Catholic saints. Simon enters into an agreement with Ivan Tretiak (Rade Serbedzija), a wealthy criminal in Russia, to steal the formula for cold fusion from an Oxford University professor.
Simon travels to England to obtain the equations from the brilliant scientist Dr. Emma Russell (Elisabeth Shue), who has worked out a formula for an unlimited source of energy. Thus begins the romance between Simon and Emma that propels them through the rest of the film. The action takes place in England and Russia. The soundtrack was beautifully written by Graeme Revell, and the music adds a sense of magic and mystery to the quieter, more soulful scenes.
Val Kilmer has had several good films in his career; the early Top Gun, the memorable performance he gave as Jim Morrison in The Doors, and this film as the thief with a heart. The Saint is a master of disguise, and takes on the persona of an assortment of characters in order to escape detection by either the criminals hiring him or Scotland Yard. He escapes detection again and again due to his masquerading costumes and accents, and it is quite fun to watch.
Elisabeth Shue I first saw in Adventures in Babysitting (I liked that movie!), and then her famous role in Leaving Las Vegas. The chemistry between her and Val really works, and so it is not surprising when they fall for each other. Especially sweet is the scene where Simon is working at seducing her, they are getting tipsy drinking a lot of very expensive wine, and yet despite this, she sees into Simon’s soul, and that initially upsets him. Can he steal her work on cold fusion when he’s falling in love with her?
The Saint has action, adventure, and romance all rolled up into one neat package. Given it was filmed some twenty years ago, the technology is a bit dated, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s light entertainment with a bit of romance thrown in.
Roger Moore famously starred in a TV series in the 1960’s as The Saint. There is a British TV movie out just this year of The Saint starring Adam Rayner. It wasn’t picked up as a series, but was shown on TV as a tribute to Roger Moore. Simon Templar is a good character and I can see why he is brought back to film again and again.
Have you seen any of these versions of The Saint, and if so, what did you think of them?