Cutthroat Island: Renny Harlan (Mis)Directs Wife-Actress Geena Davis in Silly Adventure

Husband-and-wives teams are not new in the film world, but few have worked with the highly publicized harmony and press coverage of director Renny Harlin and star Geena Davis; Geena reportedly blew hot kisses to her beau on the set. Romance aside, the movie has been pushed back a number of times, usually a very bad sign in Hollywood.

Combining high-adventure and greed, Cutthroat Island is meant to be a thrilling tale of pirates. Geena Davis stars as a feisty maiden, who gets involved with a dashing gambler, played by a miscast Matthew Modine, who took over after Michael Douglas smartly dropped out.

Structurally, the picture it’s a mess, and it feels like it was tempered with in post-production. Not that it matters much, but the story is incoherent, and scene after scene fall flat. Add this picture to the least of Hollywood’s unsuccessful projects (including Polanski’s recent “Pirates”) to resurrect a genre that used to be popular in the old days.

This year seems to have reinvented the swashbuckling action genre with a vengeance. But, alas, as mediocre as Liam Neeson’s Rob Roy, Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, and Richard Gere’s First Knight were, there is no comparison to Cutthroat Island, which is a misfire on any level.

I have no doubts that “Cutthroat Island” will end up on many Ten Worst Films list of 1995; perhaps of the entire decade.