Bird on a Wire – 2 out of 5
I’m not sure what really compelled me to revisit this film after having not seen it since it came out in 1990 but I recently decided to check out Bird on a Wire. To be honest, I really didn’t remember much in this movie beyond the fact that it starred Goldie Hawn and Mel Gibson and it had that famous scene where the two of them are climbing a ladder and her skirt is blown up by the wind and Mel’s character comments about how she’s now wearing underwear. Literally, that’s all I remember about this movie. With that being said and essentially watching this movie for the “first time” (since I don’t remember anything of substance), how is this 90s action comedy? Well…it’s kinda meh.
|It's funny because it objectifies women.|
After a crooked DEA agent (David Carradine) is released from prison, he sets his sights on the man who put him there. Rick Jarmin (Mel Gibson) is in hiding in the witness protection program and one day runs into his ex-fiancée; Marianne Graves (Goldie Hawn), and accidentally pulls her into his mess. Now the two must escape the killers after them but matters become worse as it seems other corrupt agents are in on the plan.
|When you need to aim your weapon and work on|
tightening your tush at the same time.
Well, one thing that definitely stands out with this film in 2017 is that it feels dated on certain social aspects. Now, this is where I get all SJW in my review but there are moments in the story that are a little problematic to see in this day and age. Hawn’s character is pretty much 100% the damsel in distress and the woman who can’t control her emotions and there’s a homosexual character that feels a tad like a stereotype. Granted, these elements aren’t terrible nor are they outright homophobic or sexist. Hell, I was surprised the film didn’t go for broke with the gay character and make him the punchline of a lot of bad jokes. While he is a hair stylist, he’s actually a fairly down-to-earth character and that was pretty rare when it came to the gay community’s representation in films in the 90s. Bird on a Wire does kinda deserve a little leeway because it does present Mel Gibson as the level of stud that women absolutely lose their minds over and it’s so over-the-top that it makes the rest of the film a little hard to take seriously. Still, these elements are noticeable enough that when watching it now, they stand out and are kinda laughable since we are moving away from these types of outdated representations.
|In fairness, they did do A LOT worse in the 90s.|
|That shower seems very impractical.|
The rest of the film is pretty serviceable but kinda forgettable. The plot and story feels like it spends a lot of time wandering and with no real focus on where it is going. The basic idea is there and you understand what it is going for but it never really feels like it has a destination in mind. There’s a few moments of some fun action but none of it really stuck with me after the film was over or really made me take note when it was taking place. Finally, the antagonists of the film are pretty uninteresting and don’t really feel that threatening.
|This scene takes place in the China Town portion of Racine, Wisconsin.|
I live in Wisconsin and, trust me, there is no part of that town
that can even be remotely described as "China Town."
As forgettable as I found this movie (even during its second viewing) there is one thing the film does have going for it and that is the pairing of Gibson and Hawn. These two have such a fun chemistry together on screen and they make even the most mundane of scenes in this film pretty fun. Both players are talented in their own right (and get to show it in this one) but when they are together, there was no denying that they worked well.
|Watching this now and remembering Gibson's love of the sauce and his hatred|
of God's chosen people really shines this film in a different light.
Revisiting Bird on a Wire led me to a movie that is mildly entertaining in the moment but something that just isn’t that memorable. Like I previously stated, I have memories of only small elements in this film and, if I decided to revisit it again in another 27 years, I doubt that much will change. So, that being said, visit me here again in 2044 (lord knows, I’ll probably still be doing this) and it will probably be the same review…only updated to say I watched it in 2017 and only remember the leads and when Goldie Hawn’s skirt blew open.