Terminal Velocity (1994)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller  |   Release Date - Sep 23, 1994 (USA)  |   Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Brian J. Dillard

This cheeky action thriller allowed Charlie Sheen to poke fun at his bad-boy image at a time when his reputation, if not his box-office reliability, was in decline, resulting in a film that's far more watchable than it has any right to be. It doesn't hurt that Nastassja Kinski, beginning her own career rehabilitation, also gets to make light of her softcore Eurotrash past as a sexy skydiving neophyte who isn't what she seems. The plot's fairly involved, but generally comprehensible, while the aerial sequences prove more believable and better shot than similar scenes in such CGI-driven blockbusters as Mission: Impossible; it's amazing what real live stunt men can do. Screenwriter and executive producer David N. Twohy, who had previously scribed Alien 3 and would go on to team with Sheen for 1996's similarly workmanlike The Arrival, shows the same grasp of genre conventions and how to tweak them that he would display with 2000's impressive sci-fi psychodrama Pitch Black. Future Sopranos star James Gandolfini even shows up in a typical villain role, making Terminal Velocity a study in the watchable work that can be done by folks who are past their peak or haven't reached it yet.