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002012
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Blue Steel (1990)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Starring:
Jamie Lee Curtis/Megan
Ron Silver/Eugene
Clancy Brown/Nick
Elisabeth Pena/Tracy
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A rookie cop’s (Curtis) first days on the force go to hell. It starts when she interrupts a holdup in process, blowing the guy away, to then have the crook’s gun disappear from the scene. It gets worse when the person with the missing gun starts killing people at random and engraving her name in the bullets. And it gets trickier still, when she starts dating a guy (Silver) who might just be that specific trigger-happy nut. And then things really get ugly.
THE LOWDOWN
Some people have foot fetishes; I have a Kathryn Bigelow fetish. Nobody paints a picture like she does and “Blue Steel” is no exception. From the slick opening credits of a gun being loaded in all of its bluish tinted glory, to the rest of the film which bathes in bluish lighting continually with guns glimmering or blue rays of light shining through, Blue Steel is, without a doubt, a visual treat and lives up to its title in terms of style.

And the story, you may ask? Well, on the upside, it was a lot like "The Hitcher" but with a chick. Being that the script was co-written by genre genius Eric "loves his violence" Red who also wrote the former film, the similarities made sense. Now although I found the character evolution more satisfying in The Hitcher, I still got some kicks out of seeing Jamie Lee become tougher and tougher through this psychopath-induced ordeal. The film did stretch credibility on more than one occasion (Jamie Lee hasn’t met such a resilient villain since “Michael Myers”) but looking back, I forgave its farfetched tendencies fairly quickly. When you're totally into a flick, absorbed in its world, wooed by its visuals...script boo-boos go down much easier. I was slightly annoyed by the redundancy factor though; they get close to nailing the killer, but then he gets away with it somehow. That went on for about three scenes in a row. The "out there" conclusion also pushed too far. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a "fun times" shoot 'em up that had me by the balls, but it's set smack in the middle of downtown New York City! Where were the other cops at? Donut break? The conclusion would have been more comfortable in a Western than in an urban thriller.

On the positive gun blast, the picture contained a unique script structure and served up plot twists galore, all of which made sure to keep me in the game. I mucho dug the family drama as well, even though the cap off to that subplot was an obvious plot device to have the killer pop up again. I also liked how the loon’s motive was always kept ambiguous, they don’t spell it out for us and I made my own conclusion as to why he was doing his dirty deeds (make your own). The film also thankfully brought up a relevant and engaging theme: how it feels to be a female police officer. I mean, let's face it, it’s a male dominated territory; girls get no respect and are always questioned. I found it gnarly to see a flick of this nature having the female lead NOT be a victim. The lady took care of herself and displayed lots of guts throughout. YOU GO, GIRL! The cherry on top of this red-wet cupcake was definitely its yummy violence though. Bigelow and Red already proved their love of plasma to me once before in “Near Dark” and they re-affirmed that gourmet taste here. When people got blown away in this film, they got blown away like-- forget about it!! Blood splashing out, bodies tumbling backwards in slow motion…violence never looked so striking. FUCK YEAH!

In the end, "Blue Steel" came through and slapped a grin on my dumb face. Yes, the script didn’t always hold up and pushed the credibility factor often, but the spot-on cast (Ron Silver and Jamie Lee rock), the arresting images and the oh-so astounding violence made it worth the trip. The flick also went out of its way to be original while delivering the "exploitive" goods and being the psycho in training that I am, I couldn’t help but respect that with all of my being. Viva la violence and viva Jamie Lee!
GORE
You like overly bloody bullet hits? HAPPY B-DAY!
ACTING
Jamie Lee Curtis (Megan) delivers one of her more solid performances here. Vulnerability, fear, anger and toughness are all mixed perfectly. She had me riveted to the screen. Go girl! Ron Silver (Eugene) was also very effective as the nut job. His twitching worked and he reminded me of a whacked out Al Pacino. His scenes with Curtis were bang-on. It’s nice to see Clancy Brown (Nick) play the good guy. The man’s got charisma and is very natural. Give the guy more good guy parts! Elisabeth Pena (Tracy) had a small part and did what she had to do. Great smile…
T & A
We get Jamie Lee’s incredibly flat tummy in a sex scene (or was it a body double?) and the ladies get Clancy Brown’s back. No chest shots for anyone. What a disappointing sex scene…I really wanted to see Clancy’s tits! :)
DIRECTING
Bigelow does what she does best: awesome shots, lots of slow motion and a well-used smoke machine. This is one moody flick. If you like the color blue, you will be well served: blue neon, blue lighting, blue metal, blue window frames…you get my drift. Bigelow also makes good use of the downtown New York location and sure knows how to make a gun look way kool.
SOUNDTRACK
The score by Brad Fiedel is perfect coating to the images. It kind of sounds like his score for T2.
DVD FEATURES
Distributor: MGM Home Entertainment

IMAGE: We have the option of watching the flick in Standard "full screen" or in Widescreen "16.9 Enhanced" mode. The image itself is decent with the occasional grain popping up, but I did find it to be somewhat lacking in definition. On the flip side, this DVD sure beats any used up video tape. You got to take what you get and run, I guess.

SOUND: The English Dolby Surround sound on the other hand comes through with the soundtrack coming in gangbusters and the gunshots resonating deliciously. We also get a French Dolby Surround sound option and English, French, Spanish subtitle options.

EXTRAS: We get the Theatrical Trailer and that's that. Of course, a Kathryn Bigelow and Eric Red commentary would've rocked my world...but I guess I'll have to be satisfied with just owning this baby, bare bones on DVD.
BOTTOM LINE
I got off on "Blue Steel". I mean, can you really go wrong with Eric Red, one of the genres more daring screenwriters and Kathryn Bigelow one of the more snazzy directors on the "style" block teaming up again? Not in my graveyard of great movies. Yes, the script is off at times, but the film compensated for that by satisfying my many pleasures: Jamie Lee Curtis, guns, violence, slick style and the color blue, all of which I love and crave on a daily basis. Thank you Kathryn, and thank you Eric for this tasty, involving and brutal cinematic bon-bon.
BULL'S EYE
Jamie Lee Curtis had a quarrel with the director over the weapon used in the last scene. Kathryn wanted her to use a .44 but Curtis thought it was too much. She wound up using a .38 in the last scene of the film.

When Eugene is reloading his gun in the bathroom, it is clear that he’s reloading with spent casings. Ooops!

At a certain point, Eugene delivers a speech that’s basically a re-write of the key speech from Orson Wells’ "The Third Man".

Eric Red co-wrote Blue Steel with Kathryn Bigelow. They also collaborated on "Near Dark", which Bigelow also directed.

Tom Sizemore plays the tiny part of the robber. He also played in Bigelow’s “Strange Days”. You’ve come a long way, buddy!
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