Live Wire 1992 Movie Scene Pierce Brosnan as Danny O'Neill banging on the glass door as the courtroom explodes

Live Wire [1992]

Nothing like a good old-fashioned nineties action thriller to get you in that holiday mood. I spent my childhood watching these movies. And, as I often say, I thought I’d seen them all. However, it turns out that there are still great movies I’ve missed. Live Wire is a cozy and highly entertaining nineties action thriller starring Pierce Brosnan. It’s about Danny O’Neill, an FBI explosives expert trying to get to the bottom of a deadly explosion. And I think you already know where this is going. In the Lethal Weapon direction. Almost every possible stereotype is present and I freaking love it! The script is snappy, pacing fast, and running time short, just like it should be in this type of movie.

Live Wire is just a sturdy and well-crafted movie, coming to us from Christian Duguay. He’s a woefully underrated director who brought us a much better action thriller just a few years later, The Assignment. And, of course, who could forget his science fiction masterpiece, The Screamers? I want you to pay close attention to editing and the overall flow of the movie. It’s just so fucking seamless and tight that I wonder how come Duguay didn’t have a bigger career in Hollywood. Despite all the cliches, we will still get a couple of interesting twists and turns. One of the biggest is the nature of the explosives the terrorists are using. 

Aren’t you tired of watching flawed and wisecracking action heroes defusing the same old bombs? I know I am. Plus, these are the nineties, those bombs with wires are just so eighties. In just a couple of years, we will move on to even more sophisticated explosive devices. However, this doesn’t mean that we won’t get a scene where Danny makes a bomb out of a household items in under a minute. Speaking of explosions, they look spectacular featuring excellent and quite dangerous stunts. I mean, I slowed down one of the scenes and you can see fire kissing the face of one of the stuntmen who’s not wearing any kind of protection.

I’m sure they doused him with fire retardant gel but the scene still looks kind of unnerving. And freaking awesome. Ahhh, good old eighties and nineties stunts, they bring joy to my heart. And I don’t want you to think that this is a B movie because it’s not. The budget was $11 million and the production values are quite good. The same goes for everything else, including explosions, shootouts, and all the other fun stuff. The movie strikes a perfect balance between the seriousness of the main plot and the entertaining nature of the dialogue and action. It’s not too silly and, then again, it’s not too serious.

For example, we open with a horrific explosion that kills a US senator only to transition to our FBI agent with his head in between a pretty girl’s legs, trying to defuse a car bomb. Yes, this is that type of movie. A movie featuring a cheesy bomb disposal robot manned by a quirky black scientist guy with glasses. That type of a movie. Pierce Brosnan was excellent in the lead role, not knowing that he’d be playing James Bond in just a few years. He doesn’t play a sophisticated charmer but a volatile and quite brash agent troubled by a personal tragedy that destroyed his marriage.

We also have Ron Silver and Ben Cross, a couple of nineties regulars. Mr. Silver has a certain sleazy air of smugness about him. So, it gives me great pleasure to watch him fucking get it in practically every movie he’s in. Ultimately, Live Wire is a guilty pleasure movie that I think you need to include in your guilty pleasure collection. Especially if you’re looking for something less known and quite underrated.

Director: Christian Duguay

Writer: Bart Baker

Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Ron Silver, Ben Cross, Lisa Eilbacher, Tony Plana, Brent Jennings, Philip Baker Hall

Fun Facts: The stunt coordinator for the movie Live Wire was Yannick Derien who did most of the dangerous stunts. He’s the guy who’s sitting in that chair when the explosion in the courtroom happens. If you want to know more about the stunts in this movie and in general check out Behind The Stunts YouTube channel.


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