If you want to get scared by water, stick to James Cameron’s Titanic. Disaster strikes literally and figuratively in this dramatically soggy epic about a small Indiana town flooded by heavy rains and an angry river. Director Mikael Salomon knows from the wet stuff. He was the cinematographer on Cameron’s The Abyss, but he can’t do much with a screenplay by Graham Yost that plays like a waterlogged Speed, which Yost also scripted.
Tom (Christian Slater) and his Uncle Charlie (Ed Asner) are armored-car drivers trying to deliver $3 million in bank money to a safe, dry place. That’s when the looters move in with motor-boats and Jet Skis, leaving Tom to protect the money, fall in love with a handy babe (Minnie Driver), foil a greedy sheriff (Randy Quaid) and save the day. Since the great Morgan Freeman plays Jim, the head looter, you anticipate sparks. No go. Freeman is slumming, Slater is a standard-issue hero, and whatever Mark Twain thing Yost was toying with by naming them Jim and Tom does not get developed. Much has been made of the fact that Salomon created a flooded city to scale in a tank in Palmdale, Calif. The sad thing? The set looks like a tank. Expect the movie to tank, too, big time.