"The Messenger: The Story of Joan
Directed by Luc Besson ("La Femme Nikita").
Written by Luc Besson and Andrew Birkin.
Starring Milla Jovovich.
Release Year: 1999
Review Date: 11/23/99
What up? Well, in a truly Herculean effort
(given that I have no life and I live three minutes from the
14-theater multiplex), I'm going to try to hit a flick every day
this week. Tonight, I had to check out a movie that Jess "Perfect
Bacon" Gilmour recommended last weekend to me, saying that it was
the worst movie she had ever seen. Always one to see how bad BAD
can really be, I took her up on her request and tricked Scott
"Cell-out" Hodge to join me--one of the greatest third-string
Division I soccer goalies the world has seen...in practice!!
Well Jess, I must admit--this movie is
pretty bad. For those of you who are SMR veterans, this review will
sound a lot like the review for "The 13th Warrior", and with good
reason. Luc Besson--good lord, the director of some great movies,
especially "The Professional"--directs his ex-lover, Milla Jovovich,
in this 15th-century action adventure about the legendary Joan.
Jovovich was pretty good in the Besson-directed sci-fi flick "The
Fifth Element", but here she is playing an absolute psychopath...and
since I don't know if that's how Joan really was or not, I'll just
say that Jovovich plays loud, weird, whining, religious insane
female warriors very, very well. Obviously inspired to play the
legend, she fires up her French battalion with some fiery speeches
and heroic derring-do. This, plus the over-the-top, bloody action
sequences, worked for me just fine. Nothing like a couple of scenes
where wolves and crows are chewing on dead human flesh! The body
count is high here, but not any different from your other "Braveheart"-wannabes
The problems seemed to begin with the
movie's casting. Beyond Jovovich, John Malkovich--heretofore a
fine, respected actor--plays the Dauphin of France, and he just
seemed too...what's the word...*American* for me. I don't need
Malkovich to fiddle with the French accent; it's just that his word
choice seemed a bit too 90's for a period piece ("I'm fed up!", for
bad example). Faye Dunaway, far removed from any of her
Oscar-winning material from years past, plays the Dauphin's
mother-in-law, and she is completely wasted. Wasted! Other fine
D-list actors come and bloodily go throughout the course of the
carnage, and then...Dustin Hoffman shows up!
HEY, DID YOU SAY THAT FUCKIN' RAIN MAN
Yes, I did. While this isn't as bad as
"Billy Bathgate" or "Sphere", it comes close to Hoffman's worst
work, and because it almost seems as if he was inserted only for
comedic purposes (his joyful explanation of how Joan finds her first
sword was funny, even if it was totally out of place), he mostly
fails horribly. Don't get me wrong, when you've won two Oscars, you
don't have much left to prove...but, have some respect for yourself,
man! Is it all about the dollar, dollar bills, y'all?
Oh, did I mention that the movie is 148
minutes long? Since I knew that she was going to burn at the stake,
I'm sitting there in the theater thinking that at any moment they're
just going to light her on fire to get it over with. But NO...they
make me suffer through Hoffman and more insane moments by Jovovich
for about 35 minutes after she's been captured before finally
putting a flame to her pasty ass. Why!!
That, plus an absolutely gratuitous opening
murder/rape scene and way too many over-the-top flashbacks did this
movie in. "The 13th Warrior" is still the worst movie that I've
seen this year, but "The Messenger" comes pretty close to taking the
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard