In my opinion most blockbusters are watchable movies. Some are good, some are not so good. Some are even quite bad, but they try so hard to offer something for everyone that there usually are at least some things in the movie you like. But because they do offer something for everyone, they usually also have some things you don't like. However, once in a while a film comes along which focuses solely on it's own target audience. Sometimes the critics and fans of so-called 'quality cinema' are the target audience. In those cases we have films like "American Beauty". Sometimes fans of sex-related teen-comedies are the target audience and we have a film like "American Pie". And sometimes fans of pure action-entertainment are the target audience and we have a film like "Fair Game".
This is a film which most people have a strong opinion of. Others love it while others hate it. What's interesting is that the reasons for the opinion of the film are the same for both people. Others hate it because it's unbelievably dumb, excessively violent, has an unoriginal plot, stupid dialogue and has no good actors. However, others love it for the same reasons. And I'm one of those people.
The film is based on Paula Gosling's novel of the same name. It's interesting to notice that Sylvester Stallone's actioner "Cobra" was also based on the same novel but the films have very little in common. About the only thing they share is the hate of the critics and the love of action-fans. What's even more interesting is that Stallone was originally attached to this film as well.
Anyway, about this film.. While it's true that no-one has been able to make a good macho-actioner since the 80s (except Steven Seagal and even he is now making films like "The Patriot"), this is a quality effort if there ever was one. This has everything I want (a macho cop as the hero, a sexy woman as his sidekick, lots of action and gratuitous violence) and nothing I don't (a deep and original plot, Academy Award-winning actors, emotional scenes between mom and daughter...). Actually many scenes here are so stupid that they could be considered campy and even if you aren't a fan of the genre, you might enjoy laughing at the movie's unintentional humor.
One of the things which always means a lot to me in films is the score and "Fair Game" has one of the best scores I've ever heard. I liked Mark Mancina's score to "Speed" and "Bad Boys" but they're nothing compared to this. A brilliant main theme combined with excellent underscore. Full marks.
There is also the traditional "You killed my partner. Big mistake, you hear me? Wanna know why? Because I'm gonna come and get every last one of you!"-threat from Baldwin. I love those lines, I really do. "Cobra" was filled with them and the mid-80s was a good time for macho-actioners.
In fact, "Fair Game" is like a throwback to the 80s, when Joel Silver still made good actioners (Commando, Action Jackson, Die Hard, Road House - all brilliant). Of course it's not intelligent. Of course it's not original. Of course it's not a film which makes people think about their lives. It is pure action-entertainment, nothing more and nothing less. This will definitely appeal to fans of "Cobra", "Action Jackson" and the early Steven Seagal-films. However, if you don't like action, pure action and nothing but the action - skip it. Even if you liked films like "Speed" and "Face/Off", you might not like this.
Gunfights, explosions, gratuitous violence, gratuitous nudity (from Cindy Crawford, no less!), a brilliant score..what more could a guy who loves action ask? Definitely a 10.