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People in Los Angeles live in fear of the ‘Big’ earthquake that one day may destroy their city. This film is supposed to be about such a large earthquake and the story of a group of people who get trapped underground in the LA subway system. Like most disaster movies it starts by showing each of the characters during the few hours prior to the disaster, and tries to paint a brief sketch of each of their characters. When the disaster strikes there are some good special effects showing building collapsing, and of course a subway train crashing. Four passengers are trapped in the train and these are soon joined by Dillon Hall, (played by Ted McGinley) who works for the City Transit Authority. Hall was a famous ice hockey player until he was in a car crash, in which his son was killed. Since then he had worked as a lowly maintenance scheduler for the subway service. At this point you know that he is going to be the ‘hero’ of this group. Of course the tunnel collapses behind Hall so the five of them are now trapped and have to find a way out. The other characters are: Griffin. (played by Mark Kiely) A criminal who has just been released from jail and has a real attitude problem. Susy. (played by Jamie Bergman) Griffin’s dumb girlfriend. Newton. (played by Adam Wylie) A teenage geek. Savana. (played by Ursula Brooks) A lady getting over a recent mugging. If you believe in men and women being equal then I would strongly suggest that you do not watch this film. The two women are definitely portrayed as weak individuals who could not survive without the men. The ‘up-skirt’ shot as the group climb a ladder will probably tempt any women-libbers to through the TV out of the window. The film follows the group as they reach a whole series of ‘dead-ends’ through the maze of tunnels and how they manage to escape from each section through brute force or brainwaves from
the geek. There is one section where a litter bin is used to effect an escape that is just very silly. There is a sub-plot to the film as the Deputy Mayor of the city (played by Ken Olandt) has been storing toxic waste in an area of disused subway. The group are going to come across this waste and expose his scam, so he tries everything to keep the group trapped. This leads to some heated moments between him and Mr Marshall, the head of the City Transit Authority (played by Roy Scheider). The special effects in the film are not too bad and the acting is OK (except for a lot of screaming), but unfortunately the storyline is just too predictable. In true American style – the good guys win, the bad guys loose and everyone rides off into the sunset. The film is OK, but I would not bother watching it again. There are too many similar films that have much better story lines.
Cuba Gooding Jnr stars in the film adaptation of Alan Bowne's play Beirut, taking place in the decrepit New York City of the near future, controlled by a fascist government.