Sudden Death (film)

Infobox Film
name = Sudden Death


director = Peter Hyams
producer = Howard Baldwin
Moshe Diamant
writer = Karen Elise Baldwin (story)
Gene Quintano (screenplay)
starring = Jean-Claude Van Damme
Powers Boothe
Raymond J. Barry
Whittni Wright
Ross Malinger
Dorian Harewood
as 'Hallmark'
music = John Debney
cinematography = Peter Hyams
editing = Steven Kemper
distributor = Universal Pictures
released = December 22, 1995
runtime = 110 min.
imdb_id = 0114576

"Sudden Death" is a 1995 action movie, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. It also features Dorian Harewood and Raymond J. Barry, and is directed by Peter Hyams. It has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Taglines

* "Action goes into overtime."
* "Terror goes into overtime."
* "Some games you can't afford to lose." (from the novel)
* "They said Game 7 would be a war. They didn't know the half of it." (from the novel)

Plot

Darren McCord (Van Damme) is a Canadian-born firefighter with the Pittsburgh Fire Bureau who was disgraced when he was unable to save a young girl from a house fire. Now removed from active duty, McCord handles fire security at Civic Arena. While attending Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals with his daughter Emily and his son Tyler, he discovers a criminal operation occurring in the arena. A group led by former United States government employee Joshua Foss (Boothe, whose character's name is never mentioned) is holding Vice President of the United States Daniel Binder (Barry) and several other VIPs at gunpoint in a luxury suite. Foss has the arena wired with explosives, and plans to blow it up at the end of the game while having hundreds of millions of dollars wired into several off-shore accounts. McCord must not just stop Foss, but somehow send the game into overtime and save his children simultaneously.

McCord is first pulled into the plot when Emily is kidnapped by a hitwoman disguised as Iceburgh, the Pittsburgh Penguins' mascot. Emily witnesses the woman kill several people, and is spared when the killer runs out of ammunition. She places Emily in the suite with the other hostages. McCord, who had given pursuit, is left to search in vain. Realizing she has been "made", the killer returns to deal with McCord and a long fight breaks out. The killer is more than a match for McCord, who, though severely beaten, manages to kill the woman by kicking her into a large dishwasher, which pulls on her penguin's head strap and strangles her.

McCord finds a security guard, but this man is a hostile in disguise. McCord gets the upper hand this time, though, and forces information out of the thug before stabbing him in the neck. McCord heads up to the executive offices and finds a mobile phone, with which he calls the police. They put him in touch with Secret Service Agent Matthew Hallmark (Harewood), who advises that McCord stand by while the agents take charge. McCord angrily refuses, saying that he will handle this himself.

The Secret Service and their assisting police officers make several attempts to storm the arena, with various degrees of failure. Meanwhile, McCord manages to find a few of the bombs and disable them, whilst Foss goes about killing several hostages. Eventually Hallmark manages to sneak inside and meet with McCord. It quickly transpires that Hallmark is yet another puppet of Foss', influenced by money. McCord dispatches Hallmark and uses his phone to contact Foss, who taunts McCord with the news that he is holding his daughter captive.

As time quickly ticks down, McCord manages to disable more bombs, but is severely slowed by confrontations with Foss' men. At one point, McCord must pretend to be the Pittsburgh goalie to escape the thugs and ends up successfully defending a shot. The third period runs down, but the Penguins, who up to this point have been losing by one score, pull off a tie-making goal in the last few seconds, bringing the game to sudden death. McCord decides that there's no time left to find the bombs and climbs up to the roof of the arena. He advances upon the owner's box from above and forces his way in, rescuing Emily and the remaining hostages.

Foss manages to escape and blend in with the chaos that has ensued by a thug falling through the score display earlier and blowing it up. Foss sets off one of the bombs, flooding part of the arena, and recaptures Emily. They head up towards the top of the arena, where a helicopter is waiting to lift Foss away. McCord intervenes and saves his daughter, then brings the helicopter down.

As McCord is being led to a waiting ambulance, his son and daughter comment to the paramedics about how their father is a hero, while Tyler had before told Emily that their father was too scared to be a fireman again. A contented McCord is put inside the ambulance as the film ends.

Cast

* Jean-Claude Van Damme as Darren McCord
* Powers Boothe as Joshua Foss
* Raymond J. Barry as Vice President Daniel Bender
* Whittni Wright as Emily McCord
* Ross Malinger as Tyler McCord
* Dorian Harewood as Matthew Hallmark
* Kate McNeil as Kathi
* Michael Gaston as Hickey
* Audra Lindley as Mrs. Ferrara
* Brian Delate as Blair
* Jay Caufield as Brad Tolliver
* David Santa as S.W.A.T. Captain
* Jeff Hochendoner as Duckerman
* Jeff Jimerson as Himself (anthem singer)
* Mike Lange as Himself (play-by-play announcer)
* Luc Robitaille as Himself
* Paul Steigerwald as Himself (color commentator)
* John Mousadis as Man Running out of Arena
* Eric Politowski as Boy In Crowd
* Kenneth Milchick as Penguins Coach
* Daniel Hudy as Blackhawks goaltender (extra)
* Justin Fenimore as Penguins goaltender (extra)

Critical & box office reception

"Sudden Death" opened in the United States on the weekend of December 22, 1995 in 8th place, making only $4,782,445 at 1681 theaters, with a poor $2,845 per screen average, and meek $20,350,171 final tally. In other countries, it made close to 50 million in profit with video sales. Most have cited its domestic failure due to its ill-timed release date in the crowded field of Christmas blockbusters.

Mainstream critics wrote "Sudden Death" off as a second-rate "Die Hard" rip-off with no good action scenes and plenty of unintentional comedy to go along with. Still other critics have called it the "best" of the "Die Hard" styled movies. Pittsburgh residents and Penguins fans alternately love and hate the film.

Film Facts

*The film's story was written by Karen Elise Baldwin, the wife of Penguins owner, Howard Baldwin.

*The original script had the Penguins playing the Los Angeles Kings.

*The film was shot during the 1994–95 NHL lockout.

*During the film several members of the Penguins made appearances. These members include Luc Robitaille, who scored the game tying goal, and Markus Näslund, an NHL unknown at the time who later became a star with the Vancouver Canucks. The Chicago Blackhawks were played by the Cleveland Lumberjacks, Pittsburgh's IHL affiliate at the time. Future Penguin Ian Moran, who was a Lumberjack at the time, played Chicago defenseman Chris Chelios.

*The Penguins' real-life announcer Mike Lange was also used in the movie. He used some of his trademark quotes like "Scratch my back with a hacksaw" and "Call Arnold Slick in Turtle Creek".

*Pittsburgh's Jaromir Jagr wasn't happy that the player wearing his number (68) was on the ice for three of the Blackhawks' goals, giving him a plus/minus rating of -3.

*Iceburgh, the Penguins mascot, had role the film. In the movie, Iceburgh's costume was worn by one of the villains. The character was called as "Icey" instead of "Iceburgh".

*The film depicted the Penguins and Blackhawks playing in the upcoming 1995 Stanley Cup Finals. However the real-life match-up in 1995 would be between the New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings. New Jersey won the series 4-0. The Penguins and Blackhawks initially squared off in the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals. Pittsburgh won that series 4-0.

*The role of the film's fictional Penguins goaltender, Brad Tolliver, was played by former-Penguin right-winger Jay Caufield, who won Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 1991 and 1992. Caufield later became a trainer for the Penguins captain, Mario Lemieux, and is now an analyst on "Pittsburgh Sports Tonight", the Penguins' post-game show that appears on FSN Pittsburgh.

External links

*imdb title|id=0114576|title=Sudden Death
*amg movie|id=1:135484|title=Sudden Death
*rotten-tomatoes|id=1068470-sudden_death|title=Sudden Death
* [http://film.virtual-history.com/film.php?filmid=486 Movie stills]


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