Frank Capra's It Happened One Night established the format, but John Badham is stuck with a terrible script on this 1990s version. Only the chemistry of Goldie Hawn and Mel Gibson makes the film watchable.

Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night established the format, but John Badham is stuck with a terrible script on this 1990s version. Only the chemistry of Goldie Hawn and Mel Gibson makes the film watchable.

Gibson plays a shnook who’s been hiding out for 15 years under an FBI witness relocation program. He gave testimony on a drug deal and the man he fingered (David Carradine) is just out of prison. Contrived and thoroughly unconvincing plot cog has Gibson discovered incognito by old flame Hawn at the Detroit gas station where he works just as Carradine and partner Duke catch up with him. Resulting shootout throws Hawn and Gibson together on the lam for the rest of the pic.

Rekindling of duo’s romance is best thing about the repetitive chase format, set in numerous US locations but shot almost entirely in British Columbia. Main kudos goes to British designer Philip Harrison, who’s allowed to run hog wild in a largescale climax set at a zoo exhibit depicting a Brazilian rain forest.

Bird on a Wire

Production

Badham-Cohen/Interscope. Director John Badham; Producer Rob Cohen; Screenplay David Seltzer, Louis Venosta, Eric Lerner; Camera Robert Primes; Editor Frank Morriss, Dallas Puett; Music Hans Zimmer; Art Director Philip Harrison

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1990. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Mel Gibson Goldie Hawn David Carradine Bill Duke Joan Severance Stephen Tobolowsky
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