18th Sep2017

‘The Saint’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Adam Rayner, Eliza Dushku, Roger Moore, James Remar, Thomas Kretschmann, Enrique Murciano, Sammi Hanratty, Kirsty Mitchell, Yani Gellman, Greg Grunberg, Beatrice Rosen, Ian Ogilvy, Alec Secareanu, Sonalii Castillo, Christopher Villiers | Written by Jesse Alexander, Tony Giglio | Directed by Ernie Barbarash

the-saint-2017-poster

An expanded version of a failed TV pilot, whose first trailer debuted waaay back in 2013, this iteration of The Saint is already on the backfoot before it begins. You have a rejected pilot, “fixed” with reshoots, TWICE(!)  – which is why Ernie Barbarash is now the credited director and not Simon West (Con Air, Tomb Raider) who is now credited as Executive Producer instead – and featuring not one but TWO previous Saints in the cast, Roger Moore and Ian Ogilvy, just to remind you of how good both actors were in the role… Oh, and then there’s memories of the Val Kilmer movie to sour the audiences view of the classic Leslie Charteris character!

The plot is as slight as you’d imagine for a TV movie/pilot – especially given that the original plans for the “film” would have been to introduce the cast of characters and The Saint himself: International master thief, Simon Templar, also known as The Saint, is asked by a desperate rich man to find his kidnapped daughter. However, in addition to evading the authorities, Simon must face a dangerous adversary from his past.

Despite multiple reshoots etc, this new take on The Saint still feels VERY much like a TV pilot. There’s a convoluted plot that involves Simon Templar’s past, present and future; a set-up which introduces a recurring “big bad” adversary, The Brotherhood; Templar’s crew and re-introduces “The Saint” to modern audiences as a Bond-esque spy/playboy/thief… An introduction which has multiple story beats, the setting and story jumping all over the place, from fighting the Russia army to rescuing a young girl in L.A.

Interestingly, the plot threads all coming together make this feel like one of those old-school VHS “movies” of the late 80s/early 90s, which were in fact a couple of episodes of a TV show edited together into movie format – which, as some one who grew up watching the likes of Friday the 13th: The Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Airwolf, War of the Worlds and more (usually released by CIC Video) that way, is not necessarily a bad thing. And that’s the rub. For all the technological advances and trickery used within the show, The Saint still feels very much like a product of another time. Very much the kind of show that would have played on Saturday afternoons on ITV, when there was no football to show (remember those days? And shows like Time Trax, Seaquest DSV/2032, RoboCop etc). Which means now it feels even more dated than the four year old idea it actually is!

The reason for this? Undoubtedly its due to this Saint, Adam Rayner, whose performance feels as stilted and inauthentic as those that proliferated the shows of the aforementioned era, when looks were preferred over acting ability. That’s not to say Rayner wouldn’t have settled into the role should it have gone to series – in fact that what happens with most TV shows: the pilot always has teething problems, in a lot of cases it’s where ideas are tested before a show gets tweaked and re-tooled when it goes to a weekly format. The only odd thing here is that The Saint apparently went through re-writes, reshoots AND a retooling before being released as a direct to market movie – so what went wrong?! Sadly, the appearance of original “Saint” actors Ian Ogilvy and Roger Moore doesn’t actually help proceedings either. Instead it just makes The Saint feel like one of those 90s Perry Mason or Columbo TV movies, which revelled in bringing back well-known “older” actors in cameo roles.

As inoffensive and bland as you’d expect a network action/adventure show to be, The Saint is one of those films that will probably live on as schedule filler – perfect for the Saturday afternoon slot of those shows it, accidentally, emulates.

The Saint is available everywhere on iTunes now.

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2 Responses to “‘The Saint’ VOD Review”

  • Multiple reshoots?

    Don’t know where you got that from. Technically there were no reshoots however once it was clear that the pilot was not going to sell additional material was shot in order to extend it in to a TV movie.

    However I don’t disagree with your opinion of it!

    • Phil Wheat

      Perhaps I worded it wrongly. By reshoots I meant additional footage rather than re-filming existing scenes…