Director: Andrew Sipes
Starring: William Baldwin, Cindy Crawford, Steven Berkoff
A police officer protects a lawyer hunted by Russian terrorists.
Watching Fair Game is like watching a chess match in which the players completely ignore the rules of chess: after a while, no move makes sense. You know who the two sides are, and you know what they are trying to do, but everything in between, well, forget it. So the best way to enjoy this movie is to surgically remove your brain, watch the movie, then put your brain back in after you’re done. If you can do that, you’ll be able to enjoy the movie’s quick pace, wonderful eye candy, and above average action scenes.
Let’s start with the good stuff…
The pacing in the movie is brisk. The action scenes are frequent, gritty, and well shot. You’ve got fights, shootouts, car chases galore, and the creators of the movie like to blow stuff up, so there is hardly a dull moment. Logically there are some problems with some of the scenes, but again, if you take our advice and remove your brain before viewing the movie, you’ll miss a lot of the problems.
On another strong note, Cindy Crawford, who plays a Florida lawyer hunted by some ex-KGB terrorists, is near the peak of her beauty in this movie. For much of the 80’s and early 90’s, she was the fantasy of every male on the planet, and you get to see her strut her stuff for 90 minutes. Despite a contract clause that prohibited him from showing her naked, the director tries to leverage her incredible sex appeal wherever possible—she seems to always be taking showers—and does a decent job of it. To add to the fun, we get a couple of cameos by sultry Selma Hayek shortly before her rise to popularity. Frankly, though, it’s a good thing the director does distract us with Crawford, because once you get past Crawford and the action scenes, this movie has some stunning problems.
One of which takes us right back to Crawford. Let’s put it this way: there is a reason that Crawford never became an actor. When I reflect on her performance, I keep getting images of those cardboard cutouts of fans that directors used to use to simulate real fans in sporting event movies. And her voice. Ack. Every line is delivered the same way, as if she’s sitting in a coffeeshop having a conversation with a best friend.
I should add, however, that there is one upside to her plastic acting: all the other actors seem brilliant in comparison. To be totally honest, I have no idea how well William Baldwin—who plays the policeman trying to protect Crawford—acted, but he looks like the next coming of Robert DeNiro next to Crawford.
But I digress. Back to the problems. Supposedly, Fair Game happens in Florida of the 1990’s, but this movie’s reality is nothing like the reality of any 1990’s world I knew of. As the stereotypical and generic ex-KGB thugs mercilessly track down our sexy Florida lawyer, the number of incredible, stupid, illogical, and unrealistic events grows by leaps and bounds. Our terrorists are almost superhuman in their abilities. For example, they can hack into a hotel’s computer system and lock all the doors on a certain floor. Not from the outside, so you can’t get in, but from the inside, so no one can get out. Huh? Of course, they do this while driving around in their van at sixty miles an hour! Wow!
But despite their incredible brilliance, they are also amazingly stupid. You see, the terrorists are using a ship to launch divers to tap into an undersea cable to steal funds from international banks. This will take them about two days. However, they spend most of this time trying to kill Crawford, who in her role as a lawyer, has decided to seize the boat as part of a divorce settlement for a client. Apparently Florida’s legal system works at the speed of light, because in any other state in the union, these proceedings would take months, by which time the terrorists would be long gone. Add to this the fact that the prescient terrorists make an attempt on her life at the very start of the movie, before she even mentions anything about the boat to the lawyer connected to the KGB terrorists. Sigh. There are a lot more problems than just these. The result is one amazingly sloppy plot.
In the midst of all these problems, there is one moment so glaringly stupid that it immediately qualifies as a candidate for Stupidest Moment in Action Movie History. For much of the movie, an army of terrorists blow up half of Florida and ruthlessly murder anyone in their way in an attempt to kill Crawford’s character. Bombs, bullets, rockets, you name it, they use them on her. And then they finally catch her! By every precedent set in the movie so far, they should riddle her with bullets, turn around, and go back to their ship. But no! The boss immediately tells them via radio not to hurt her and bring her in for questioning. Huh? Not only that, but they leave the scene without confirming whether Baldwin’s character is dead or not. To take us back to the chess analogy: pawn flies forward five spaces, jumps over castle, and lands on the back of the knight! Wheee!
After all this negativity, you’re likely thinking that I’m going to trash the movie’s overall score. But surprise, surprise, I’m not. For starters, I had had a few beers before watching the movie, and so my brain was somewhat mushy during viewing. Possibly because of that, I greatly enjoyed the excellently constructed action sequences. And Cindy Crawford made for an awesome distraction to the hole-ridden plot. When all was said and done, these positives slightly outweigh the negatives. Not by much, mind you, but enough for me to nudge the movie up to an average rating.
The woman’s breasts shown in the love scene between Crawford and Baldwin are those of a body double.
Edit: One of Life’s Great Unsolved Mysteries
When I wrote the above fun fact, I was fairly confident of it from some random reading about the move. But the first commenter on this movie review led me to follow up on my information, and after about twenty minutes of Internet searching, I gave up without success. On top of that, I was getting strange looks from my wife when she noticed I was doing repeated Google searches for “Cindy Crawford’s breasts”. I was actually amazed at the large amount of debate on the Internet about this topic.
Bottom line: I couldn’t find anything to prove the fact or disprove the movie’s fun fact. Let’s call this One of the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Action Movie History. Any evidence one way or the other would be appreciated.
Consistent Premise: 32
Body Count: 60
Time to First Dead Body: Reasonably Fast
Special Effects: 10
Overall: 52 (Half Awful, Half Decent)