The Saint | Chicago Reader

The Saint

This insufferable romance-adventure includes vague comedy as well as unintentional humor, and its target audience seems to be preadolescents who won't notice the calculated enthusiasm with which it sidesteps sexuality. Val Kilmer and Elisabeth Shue become uneasy allies in a science-for-sale scheme that goes down in Moscow. They read to each other from a list of romantic lines as confidence man Simon “the Saint” Templar (Kilmer) repeatedly seduces Shue, a cutting-edge physicist who's an untenable combination of braininess and gullibility. Kilmer is the latest of several resurrections of the cult-novel character introduced by Leslie Charteris in 1928—among them Roger Moore's in a 60s television series. The Saint's shifting identity—he's a master of disguise—is supposed to be given psychological depth here by the contrived childhood trauma played out at the beginning of the movie, but under Phillip Noyce's direction Kilmer can't convey the slightest nuance. The Saint's motivation is messy, not multifaceted, whether he's deceiving a corrupt politician, a pair of detectives, Shue, himself, us, or all or none of the above. The script is by Jonathan Hensleigh and Wesley Strick. 116 min.


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