The Rocketeer (1991)

Rating: D-

Dir: Joe Johnston
Star: Bill Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Timothy Dalton, Alan Arkin

An odd modern remake of a comic with a severely retro feel to it, this founders largely on a leading man with a striking lack of charisma, playing a character with an even more impressive lack of personality. Campbell simply fails to be interesting as the pilot who stumbles across a rocket-pack invented by Howard Hughes, coveted both by the government and a gang of Nazi thugs led by Timothy Dalton (who at least looks suitably ashamed to be involved in another strip-fiasco; see also Brenda Starr).

Speaking of which, Jennifer Connelly does at least show a little feist as the love interest – in many ways, her character is more interesting than the hero, though depth still appears to be an alien concept to both director and scriptwriter. If your hero is literally going to get his superpowers out of a suitcase, we need some other reason to care for him. The effects on view are barely acceptable too, particular during the climax in (and on) a dirigible. It may well be a faithful recreation of a 1940’s-style cinema serial, but if so, it fails to take into account that audiences these days are a lot more sophisticated.