Movies By Request

The Trigger Effect

Year: 1996
Directed By: David Koepp
Written By: James Burke, David Koepp

Writing about this one has been on the to-do list for some time now so I will do my best to review it by memory.  This movie was given to me by someone close and when I watched it I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or to cry.  It’s probably one of the silliest movies I have ever seen if truth be told but things were different in 1996 I guess.  The plot seemed like it would be interesting because at the time Amber and I were giving the NBC show Revolution a try and for a brief moment thought it was really interesting.  This movie is about a family that struggles to make it when things get crazy during a power outage.  What makes it all so laughable is that in a matter of days these people COMPLETELY lose it.

In this movie we see a typical suburban couple. Weakling Kyle MacLachlan and his far too attractive for him wife, Elisabeth Shue are the two typical people living regular lives and trying to raise their newborn child.  Suddenly when the power goes out everything changes and for the extreme worse.  The power is out and the phones are dead, something that happens frequently during snow storms, ice storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, or really any extreme weather.  It is also something that frequently occurs for a number of different reasons that have to do with some kind of technical problem.  There are frequent cases of people being without power for weeks at a time and I can only hope that they don’t fall to pieces the way these people do when something like this happens.

On day one with no power, weakling Kyle MacLachlan panics and resorts to stealing from a pharmacy to provide his infant child with medicine.  On day two they link up with his long time friend played by Dermot Mulroney and then things get really interesting.  During day two they buy a gun at a ridiculous price, they begin drinking and take smoking back up, Elisabeth Shue strongly considers adultery with Mulroney, and before the night is over they have killed someone in the street.  What’s particularly funny about this last thing is that when the cops arrive MacLachlan specifically ask them “how’s it going out there?” and the cop doesn’t seem to know what in the world he is talking about.  Yet panic still has a firm grip on these people.  In the morning of day three they pack up and head for the hills with as much gas as they can get into one of their vehicles. On the road they run across a car parked on the side of the road and when they stop to steal gas from it an incident takes place with Michael Rooker.  During the incident Mulroney is shot and their car is stolen by Rooker. Nobody will stop to help them and it is MacLachlan who has to stop being such a pussy and buck up.  He travels to the closest house they passed along the way. There he proceeds to hold a father and son hostage at gun point and tries to steal their car.  This is the moment of clarity in the movie where MacLachlan realizes what life has come to (in a matter of only three days).  The movie has about ten minutes left and as it ends the power is back on with no explanation and they are going back along their normal lives.

Now let’s review.  These people lose power for A WEEKEND and they resort to theft, murder, drinking, smoking, carjacking, arms bearing, fleeing their home, and far too close for comfort to adultery.  That’s about the most pathetic thing I have ever heard of and I can’t be quite sure what to make of this film.  As I said, I was interested because we had been watching Revolution but it was nothing like that at all.  These people would be in serious trouble if a blizzard hit town because they seriously can’t handle themselves.  I would say if nothing else the movie might be worth seeing because at one point Elizabeth Shue is wearing a see-through bra.  Shue may have been one of the most attractive women to ever grace the big screen but never really made any significant impact as an actress.  Yet seeing her in that bra did make sitting through this movie worth it if nothing else.

As to NBC’s Revolution I would like to say a couple of things.  We almost got into this show because it was an interesting story but one night we sat down to watch an episode Amber had already seen and everything changed.  I had seen maybe five minutes of the episode when Amber told me there was a surprise at the end and I called it immediately.  I simply said the most obvious thing that could happen and that turned out to be exactly what the surprise in the end was. I didn’t want to see it any longer after that, when a show is that predictable it isn’t worth our time and we were already on the fence about it.  To all this I simply want to say that NBC is like Busch league when it comes to television dramas and this is why we steer clear of them.  NBC, FOX, CBS, and ABC don’t have the balls or creative capacity to make a decent drama series.  They had a foothold early on when TV started getting so good but they seriously fail in comparison to networks like AMC, FX, and HBO.  I will still stand by the comedies that come on these networks but when it comes to putting together a big time serious series they just can’t get it right.  Fox had a hit with 24 over ten years ago but everything they have done since has simply seemed to be rehashing the story lines we saw there.  If you are looking for good dramas take your chances on something FX has to offer or just watch anything that comes on AMC.  They are so far superior that they don’t even compare.


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