Huge, expensively produced action machine designed to ensnare the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE crowd. Evil Russian oil billionaire Ivan Tretiak (Rade Serbedzija) hires international man of mystery Simon Templar (Val Kilmer) to purloin an energy
formula from idealistic scientist Emma Russell (Elisabeth Shue), intending to use it to take over Russia or some such megalomaniacal thing. But Templar -- a wounded loner who's spent a lifetime displacing his passions into in high-tech skullduggery, falls for the meek and virtuous Russell -- who
wants to give cold fusion to the shivering world. Quelle calamity! Forget the title: This monolith is so far removed from the sophisticated pulp adventurer (played on TV by pre-Bond Roger Moore, and in old movies by George Sanders) dreamed up by novelist Leslie Charteris that his name
doesn't even merit a "based on the character created by" credit. In keeping with modern tastes, Templar has been darkened and dirtied up, metamorphosed into Batman -- minus the rubber fetish gear -- by way of a traumatic childhood, a wounded psyche and a meaningful quirk: He takes the names of
Catholic saints as his aliases. Kilmer slips in and out of a series of ludicrously elaborate disguises, some more convincing than others, while poor Shue shuffles through the role of a sexy, book-reading babe pretending to be a dowdy lady scientist in kneesocks. Tretiak's psycho son (Valery
Nikolaev) and his droogies provide the villainous rush that keeps our heroes constantly on the run, and the whole business is beautifully photographed.
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