Annal: 1998 Saturn Award for Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film

Results of the Saturn Award in the year 1998.

Film:L.A. Confidential

L.A. Confidential

Curtis Hanson

In a time when it seems that every other movie makes some claim to being a film noir, L.A. Confidential is the real thing—a gritty, sordid tale of sex, scandal, betrayal, and corruption of all sorts (police, political, press—and, of course, very personal) in 1940s Hollywood. The Oscar-winning screenplay is actually based on several titles in James Ellroy’s series of chronological thriller novels (including the title volume, The Big Nowhere, and White Jazz)—a compelling blend of L.A. history and pulp fiction that has earned it…

Film:Breakdown

Breakdown

Jonathan Mostow

Tautly directed and superbly photographed, this crowd-pleasing thriller from 1997 is indebted to Steven Spielberg’s Duel, but more closely resembles Dead Calm in its strengths and weaknesses. Kurt Russell plays a stressed-out husband whose wife (Kathleen Quinlan) disappears after their car breaks down in the desert. Tracking her whereabouts leads to an interstate theft and kidnapping ring, and as Russell pursues—and is pursued by—a vicious redneck played to perfection by J.T. Walsh (in one of his final film roles), the movie succumbs to several…

Film:Face/Off

Face/Off

John Woo

At his best, director John Woo turns action movies into ballets of blood and bullets grounded in character drama. Face/Off marks Woo’s first American film to reach the pitched level of his best Hong Kong work (Hard-Boiled). He takes a patently absurd premise—hero and villain exchange identities by literally swapping faces in science-fiction plastic surgery—and creates a double-barreled revenge film driven by the split psyches of its newly redefined characters. FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) must play the villain to move through the underworld…

Film:The Game

The Game

David Fincher

It’s not quite as clever as it tries to be, but The Game does a tremendous job of presenting the story of a rigid control freak trapped in circumstances that are increasingly beyond his control. Michael Douglas plays a rich, divorced, and dreadful investment banker whose 48th birthday reminds him of his father’s suicide at the same age. He’s locked in the cage of his own misery until his rebellious younger brother (Sean Penn) presents him with a birthday invitation to play “The Game” (described as “an experiential Book of the Month Club”)—a mysterious…

Film:Titanic

Titanic

James Cameron

When the theatrical release of James Cameron’s Titanic was delayed from July to December of 1997, media pundits speculated that Cameron’s $200 million disaster epic would cause the director’s downfall, signal the end of the blockbuster era and sink Paramount Studios as quickly as the ill-fated luxury liner had sunk on that fateful night of April 14, 1912. Some studio executives were confident, others horrified, but the clarity of hindsight turned Cameron into an Oscar-winning genius, a shrewd businessman and one of the most successful directors in the…

Film:Tomorrow Never Dies

Tomorrow Never Dies

Roger Spottiswoode

Pierce Brosnan returns for his second stint as James Bond (after GoldenEye), and he’s doing it in high style with an invigorating cast of costars. It’s only appropriate that a Bond film from 1997 would find Agent 007 pitted against a media mogul (Jonathan Pryce) who’s going to start a global war (beginning with stolen nuclear missiles aimed at China) to create attention-grabbing headlines for his latest multimedia news channel. It’s the information age run amok, and Bond must team up with a lovely and lethal agent from the Chinese External Security Force…

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