Rob Lowe stars as soldier of fortune Sean Dillon in this first of four films adapted from the novels of Jack Higgins. The film premiered on The Movie Channel and made its home-video debut in 1998.
British Secret Service officials Sir Charles Ferguson (Kenneth Cranham) and Hannah Bernstein (Deborah Moore) pressure former mercenary Sean Dillon (Rob Lowe) to unmask elusive assassin Engel (Hannes Jaenicke), but Dillon is reluctant to capture the man who once saved his life. Discovering that
Engel's target is Sir Charles, Dillon employs a remote-controlled auto and dummies to dupe Engel into thinking he has car-bombed his nemesis.
When Engel heatedly confronts Dillon about the ruse, Dillon's worried girlfriend pulls a gun on the high-strung assassin, who opens fire in self-defense; the Dillon-Engel friendship is finita. Through snitches, Dillon learns that Engel is in the market for a deadly high-powered rifle. To obtain
the weapon, Engel prevails upon old IRA weapons master Danny Farmer (James Duggan) to create one for him. He coldly romances Danny's crippled daughter Mary (Samantha Giles) to cinch the deal, but winds up falling for her. Dillon informs the IRA that Engel is planning to let them take the fall for
an upcoming hit with Danny's traceable rifle. After the IRA wipes out foolhardy Danny, the police prevent Engel from assassinating his targets, Prince William and Prince Henry. Informed of Engel's role in her father's death, Mary tips off the Secret Service. At an airport rendezvous, Engel makes
sure Mary is safe before he commits suicide with his revolver.
Despite a surfeit of the usual Jack Higgins's claptrap (too many triple crosses, extraneous dastards, stop-and-go suspense development), MIDNIGHT MAN benefits from exploring the human side of its international hit men. Even after botching his strike against the Royal Family, Engel never loses his
cool; it's his affection for Mary that brings him down. Engel's surprising vulnerability is neatly juxtaposed with loner Dillon's own doomed relationship. Jaenicke's charismatic turn as the callous trigger-man is outstanding. Aside from those virtues, though, MIDNIGHT MAN pours out formulaic
spyjinks mired in a formula that should be varied by source author Jack Higgins. (Graphic violence, extreme profanity, sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1998
- Rating: R
- Review: Rob Lowe stars as soldier of fortune Sean Dillon in this first of four films adapted from the novels of Jack Higgins. The film premiered on The Movie Channel and made its home-video debut in 1998. British Secret Service officials Sir Charles Ferguson (Ken… (more)