Daylight (1996)


Sylvester Stallone tries to save a group of people trapped in a collapsed New York tunnel in this actioner from director Rob Cohen (Dragonheart, The Fast and the Furious). Daylight is a throwback to Irwin Allen disaster movies like The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno, with the motley group of survivors battling shaky ground, rolling flames, and gushing water — not to mention their own internal conflicts.

I’m normally down for a good old fashioned disaster movie, but Daylight pushes the limits on my suspension of disbelief. The barrage of catastrophic scenarios becomes cloying — an endurance test of crisis porn for the viewer. And frankly, after the initial collapse, the movie has little else up its sleeve in terms of any genuine surprises. We just get more fire and more water. The pyrotechnics might be tolerable if the characters were at least somewhat likable, but they’re far from it. Why Stallone’s character would risk his life to save some of these whiny, ungrateful assholes, I’ll never know. Even more injurious to the movie are some moments of arbitrary tragedy, milked to the max in the cheesiest ways possible. Then there’s the final nail in the coffin: a love ballad from Donna Summer that plays over the end credits. It’s called “Whenever There Is Love,” and it has absolutely no connection, literally or tonally, to the preposterousness that precedes it.

With Amy Brenneman, Dan Hedaya, Viggo Mortensen, Claire Bloom, Stan Shaw, and Danielle Harris — all doing their best to rise above the material. Stallone’s real-life son, Sage, also appears.

Oscar Nomination: Best Sound Effects Editing

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