Annal: 1999 Saturn Award for Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film

Results of the Saturn Award in the year 1999.

Film:Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan

Steven Spielberg

When Steven Spielberg was an adolescent, his first home movie was a backyard war film. When he toured Europe with Duel in his 20s, he saw old men crumble in front of headstones at Omaha Beach. That image became the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, his film of a mission following the D-day invasion that many have called the most realistic—and maybe the best—war film ever. With 1998 production standards, Spielberg has been able to create a stunning, unparalleled view of war as hell. We are at Omaha Beach as troops are slaughtered by Germans yet…

Film:The Mask of Zorro

The Mask of Zorro

Martin Campbell

In this day of movies in which one can’t tell whether the action was manufactured by computer generation or by a cookie cutter, The Mask of Zorro is a grand throwback. It recalls and celebrates the fantasy workshop that Hollywood was and can be at its best. It’s an audience pleaser in the best sense of the word, combining great-looking performers with gorgeous vistas and production design, a story that is familiar yet never insults the viewer’s intelligence, and plenty of eye-popping action.

Anthony Hopkins stars as the original Zorro, a masked…

Film:The Negotiator

The Negotiator

F. Gary Gray

Although it eventually runs out of smart ideas and resorts to a typically explosive finale, this above-average thriller rises above its formulaic limitations on the strength of powerful performances by Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey. Both play Chicago police negotiators with hotshot reputations, but when Jackson’s character finds himself falsely accused of embezzling funds from a police pension fund, he’s so thoroughly framed that he must take extreme measures to prove his innocence. He takes hostages in police headquarters to buy time and plan his strategy,…

Film:The Prince of Egypt

The Prince of Egypt

Brenda Chapman, Simon Wells, Steve Hickner

Nearly every biblical film is ambitious, creating pictures to go with some of the most famous and sacred stories in the Western world. DreamWorks' first animated film was the vision of executive producer Jeffrey Katzenberg after his ugly split from Disney, where he had been acknowledged as a key architect in that studio's rebirth (The Little Mermaid, etc.). His first film for the company he helped create was a huge, challenging project without a single toy or merchandising tie-in, the backbone du jour of family entertainment in the 1990s.

Three…

Film:Ronin

Ronin

John Frankenheimer

Robert De Niro stars as an American intelligence operative adrift in irrelevance since the end of the Cold War—much like a masterless samurai, a.k.a. “ronin.” With his services for sale, he joins a renegade, international team of fellow covert warriors with nothing but time on their hands. Their mission, as defined by the woman who hires them (Natascha McElhone), is to get hold of a particular suitcase that is equally coveted by the Russian mafia and Irish terrorists. As the scheme gets underway, De Niro’s lone wolf strikes up a rare friendship with his French…

Film:A Simple Plan

A Simple Plan

Sam Raimi

An endless white landscape of rolling hills and snow-blanketed forests. A lonely acoustic score (by Danny Elfman) playing in the background. A vision of rural simplicity portrayed in hushed tones. The stillness is about to shatter. Brothers Hank (Bill Paxton), an accountant at a small-town feed store, and Jacob (Billy Bob Thornton), an unemployed, hygienically challenged dim bulb, accompanied by Jacob’s oafish pal Lou (Brent Briscoe), stumble across a downed plane in the brush containing a corpse and a sack containing millions of dollars—surely the aftermath of a…

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