Fallen Review

by David Sunga (rlaser AT unforgettable DOT com)
January 19th, 1998

Fallen (1998)

Rating: 2.0 stars (out of 4.0)
Key to rating system:
2.0 stars - Debatable
2.5 stars - Some people may like it
3.0 stars - I liked it
3.5 stars - I am biased in favor of the movie
4.0 stars - I felt the movie's impact personally or it stood out *********************************
A Movie Review by David Sunga

Directed by: Gregory Hoblit

Written by: Nicholas Kazan

Starring: Denzel Washington, Donald Sutherland, John Goodman, Embeth Davidtz

Detective with family values, partner, demon, demonic possession, female theologist

Detective John Hobbes (Denzel Washington) gets more than he bargained for when his opponent is not a serial killer but the demon Azazel. When a person who is possessed by Azazel touches another person, Azazel can transfer from one person to another, making the demon nearly impossible to catch. Similarly, if a person who is possessed by Azazel gets killed, Azazel can jump into the body of a new host, provided the new host is within a distance of about a sixth of a mile.

Unfortunately, the demon Azazel carries a grudge against Hobbes for killing his last host (a psycho killer), and wants to make Hobbes' life miserable by framing him for murder and possessing Hobbes' loved ones. Hobbes teams up with lady theologist Gretta Milano (Embeth Davidtz) in order to get some clues about how to stop Azazel for the final battle. In the middle of the film, Hobbes is nearly flattened in the basement of an abandoned forest cabin by some objects caving in. In the end Hobbes uses this abandoned cabin as the setting for his battle with Azazel.
Denzel makes a sparking detective - - I would love to see him in another detective movie. And John Goodman is good as Detective Hobbes' partner. The beginning starts off crisp as the two cops search around for clues, but the movie becomes about a half an hour too long as they keep searching and searching and searching ad infinitum. Then the movie changes pace and tosses in a quick, unpredictable surprise ending - - but an ending that I think will be disappointing to audiences (I won't reveal it, in case you see the movie).

To make this movie better, if I were in charge, I'd chop off a half hour of extraneous sleuthing and get to the battle right away. I'd also make a gutsier relationship with Gretta (kissing allowed) and use the 'cave-in' as foreshadowing for a better ending - - where the bad guy should seem to win initially, but die by accident in a sudden cave-in when he slinks into the basement of the cabin.

Reviewed by David Sunga
January 16, 1998


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