Tunnel (2002)- * *
Directed by: Daniel Baldwin
Starring: Daniel Baldwin, Kim Coates, and Jeanine Theriault
Usually when a prisoner has to be transported somewhere, something bad happens. As we always say, never transport prisoners. Just leave them where they are. Unfortunately, when a baddie named Geary (Coates) has to be moved from one place to another by train, his criminal compatriots come to his rescue and they all escape into an underground tunnel. They're looking for some stolen diamonds, and only a man named Seale (Baldwin) can flush them all out. He's trapped down there with a woman named Sarah (Theriault), and together they have to stop the bad guys, find the diamonds, and get out alive. Who will escape THE TUNNEL?
Oh, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974), what have you wrought? While a lot of The Tunnel, naturally enough, takes place in a dimly (i.e. poorly) lit tunnel, a large section also takes place on the train which is transporting the Geary character. Every time we watch a movie like Death Train (2003), Hijack (1998), Derailed (2002), Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995), or Evasive Action (1998), we have to wonder why filmmakers, low budget action filmmakers especially, thought trains were so awesome hot and cool. This isn't the 1830's anymore. Most people over the age of three aren't wowed by choo-choos. So why fully-grown adults are continually making these train movies, presumably with the intention that audiences are, yet again, going to breathlessly exclaim, "Whoa, Cooooolll!" when they see a film set on a train, we have no freakin' clue.
So, with that said, we have to conclude that star and director Daniel Baldwin can do better than this. We know - or, at least we suspect - that he's capable of directing stronger material than The Tunnel. So that's why it's so disappointing that The Tunnel is comprised of more mediocre Die Hard-isms that bring nothing new, interesting, or exciting to the table.
It all starts off promisingly enough, with a car chase/blowup and some impressive stunt work. We get a fairly interesting back story to Dan's character at the outset but it never pays off or maintains its initial promise. Just when you think the movie is going to continue in this direction, it quickly devolves into a boring, cliche-ridden slog.
While Kim Coates always puts a lot of energy into his baddie roles, which are most of them, and Baldwin has a few charismatic moments, most of the tunnel sequences are very poorly lit. If you can't see what's going on, the dialogue descends into the sort of stuff you've heard a million times before, and the plot does likewise, things become real dull real fast. One might see the box for The Tunnel at their local video store and then just pass it right on by.
There's a certain bleak Canadian-ness to it and by the end of the ninety-five minute running time (gotta make sure you have those extra five minutes), this tunnel has collapsed.
So, as excited as we were to see the second film Daniel Baldwin directed after Fall: The Price of Silence (2001), we have to say it was a letdown. The Tunnel is inessential viewing, but you're unlikely to come across it anyway. If you do, there's really no need to see it. You'll feel like you've seen it all before, and done better.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty