johnlink ranks THE FOURTH ANGEL (2001)

So this is a movie with Jeremy Irons (who I love) and Forest Whitaker (who I love) from almost fifteen years ago. I’d never heard of it, and 2001 was back when I was in full movie-geek mode about just about everything. That didn’t bode well for the quality of this movie…


I watched THE FOURTH ANGEL (2001) on 11.4.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

Jack Elgin (Jeromy Irons) is a prominent British journalist who’s largest issue in life is hiding the fact that the vacation to India he has planned with his wife and three kids might contain a little working on the side. The plane they all take is hijacked by generic European extremists. In a brutal moment, Jack watches his wife and daughters get gunned down as they flee from the plane.

Jack then starts investigating the hijacking after learning that the killers were (for a reason never satisfactorily explained) allowed to return home without charges. Jack tries leaning on his contacts as a journalist, including some government official named Davidson (played, straight-faced, by Jason Freakin Priestley). When it becomes clear to Jack that he won’t be getting much help, he takes matter into his own hands.

And that, my friends, is when this movie goes from questionable to terrible. Jeremy Irons himself is believable as a crazed guy who could kill. Heck, he played a DIE HARD villain and a Disney villain, so he is certainly able to menace. But this movies spends its first half hour showing how docile and non-violent Jack is. The movie manages to turn Jeremy Irons into an flaccid action guy. When he starts shooting and killing and outmaneuvering trained military personnel, there is absolutely no reason to believe it. He just goes around killing people and getting into these action-bits, and none of it is remotely likable or watchable. The scenes often are intercut with black-and-white slow motion shots of Jack watching his family gunned down; just in case we all forgot why this is going on.

Forest Whitaker comes in as an American in England investigating all of this. Whitaker does his best to make this work, but the movie has nuked the fridge long before he can salvage it. Irons does some decent acting in a bad movie – he spends a lot of it lamenting the death of his family after all – but the suspense of this movie can never get going enough to make a dent.

Jason Priestley, on the other hand, is not so good. It’s pretty easy to figure out that he is the bad guy when he is the only other character who could be pulling the strings. When he has to become sinister in the end, it really is not a pretty site.

Also, there is a scene at the end of this movie – oh spoiler alert (but don’t bother with this movie anyway) – when we see Forest Whitaker’s Jules character shot and dead. We then see a scene a moment later where Jack is talking to him and Jules is chatting away, just fine, with his shirt opened to reveal a bulletproof vest. It is possibly the most obvious example of a scene added to a movie after it was finished that I can remember. It is particularly obvious when Jules does not appear in any of the rest of the film’s wrap-up scenes.

This is just a bad movie. I watched it because of the stars, and that was my own dumb fault. Don’t make the same mistake.




FINAL SCORE: 3.5 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on November 7, 2015.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: