In The Line Of Fire This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "In the Line of Fire"

When Secret Service Agent Frank Horrigan, played by Clint Eastwood, screwed up the day JFK went to Dallas to campaign, he became the only active agent to have ever had a President assassinated under his watch. Now, 30 years later, Horrigan wants a second chance at protecting the President.

"In the Line of Fire" offers up a rock solid display of split second decisions, more action-packed sequences than Arnold Schwarzenegger's disappointing "Last Action Hero," more high-flying, death-defying stunts than any of the pulse-quickening scenes in Sylvester Stallone's "Cliffhanger," and all of it MADE IN AMERICA. Though the movie is engaging, its plot lacks something: fire, the oddity of "Silence of the Lambs," and the one thing that can make or break a film: originality. Even though Clint Eastwood gives a practically perfect performance "In the Line of Fire," at 63 years, the aged actor can't rely on drawing large audiences on his looks alone, because, Clint, it just isn't going to happen!

"In the Line of Fire" is vaguely reminiscent of every other movie that has even been made about the JFK assassination. However, it's a refreshing change of pace to see Eastwood on the side of the law, instead of in some bloody western; now at least when someone dies, it's an unexpected shock.

The main plot has the would-be assassin Mitch Leary, played by actor John Malkovich, engaged in playing out a meticulously planned murder which begins with the upset and agitation of one Frank Horrigan. Leary sets the pace by phoning Horrigan at home and at the office to keep the Secret Service two steps behind him in a state of uncontrollable panic. But, for Horrigan, this torment is a particularly cruel rehashing of old fears. When a young, strong, inexperienced Frank Horrigan hesitated to assist President Kennedy after the first shot embedded itself in the President's neck that day in Dallas, moments before the second fatal bullet was fired, his indecisiveness caused him to miss the one opportunity he had to take a shot for the President of the United States.

Always pictured as the strong macho type, Eastwood's career has been one of hostile charm, taking a lop-sided view behind the idea of masculinity. However, old age has taken its toll on Clint because this time around there is a trace of emotion other than his obvious sexual attraction with feminist agent, played by Rene Russo. Eastwood portrays determination to prove that he's not afraid to take a bullet for the President, to risk his life for another. Clint puts on an equally strong display of fear that he might fail again!

This film relies too much on Leary's psychotic intelligence and makes the Secret Service out to be gullible fools as they play right into the assassin's hand nearly every time. And how is it that Leary can always be in arm's reach, but always undetected? Why can't the Secret Service ever trace Leary's phone calls? Well, the only possible answer to each of these questions is: in order to make a movie a thriller, there has to be a chase, an evil genius and a couple of bumbling idiots. B+ n



Review by P. C., Stoughton, MA






This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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