In the line of fire–Tried, tested and tired…..
Secret agent Frank Horrigan is a man of his past. His past being the assassination of John F Kennedy, of whose protection he was in-charge of. After his failure to prevent the assassination, he is only a former shell of himself. He does odd jobs, regarded by his colleagues with scorn and has nothing to look forward to in his life, until an assassin called Mitch Leary threatens to kill the President. Now Frank finds himself reliving the past with the heavy burden of his failure, the mistrust of his fellow agents, his guilt and the inevitable doomsday in which he must outsmart the energetic and cunning assassin.
If so much of what you've read so far seems oh-so-familiar and predictable, it's because it is familiar and done to death. As is to be expected of such suspense thriller films, the plot involves the aging, disgruntled, insecure hero; the alluring fellow agent heroine; the cunning assassin who comes so close to killing the president but is stopped at the nick of time; the hero's partner who's aspiring to retire but is killed eventually.... so on and hence with.
Clint Eastwood plays the insecure hero and that demands that he play it without his usual charm, style or sarcasm which is a drag because that is what makes his acting memorable.
John Malkovich plays the cunning assassin but unfortunately, he does not have much to do rather than to taunt the hero in all the usual tried and tested methods.
Rene Russo plays the alluring fellow agent heroine whose role involves mischievous temptation and then unwavering support.
Without this star crew, one can imagine what sort of a reception this movie might have made and it is only because of these actors that one can sit through the painfully familiar and predictable story. The entire story hangs on the shoulder of Clint Eastwood, but what can he do with a role which demands that he can never do anything he is famous for. He can not have any sarcastic one liners or be a badass or even sport his usual sardonic look.
The director of the movie is Wolfgang Petersen who directed such nerve wrecking thrillers like Air force one, The Perfect storm and Poseidon. A good director who palled after his best works Das Boot and Never ending story. In the line of fire is a movie that you can see if you are bored and not in the mood for anything serious at all but is best left untouched otherwise.