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Mainstream - The Mickey Rourke Collection

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Format: Box set - DVD
Number of discs: 4
Rating: Unrated
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
DVD Release Date: November 3, 2009
Run Time: 431 minutes

The Mickey Rourke Collection lacks one key ingredient – 4 good films. The inclusion of A Prayer For The Dying simply qualifies as a slap in the face to an actor who repudiated the film before it was even released. IRA bomber tries to blow up a troop transport and instead blows up a full school bus. Whoops. Can you say “exploitation”? The irony here is that there had to have been something in the original script because Rourke waived his salary in order to make the film – sometimes the worst crimes are preformed in the cutting room. In fairness there are two movies in this four movie set that are worth watching all be it for completely different reasons.

If this were done properly the Mickey Rourke Collection would start with Diner which, like this collection, is an MGM property. Of course I would also have included the stylistic Domino but that has more to do with style and Keira Knightley than Mickey Rourke. Instead of Diner we are treated to the Michael Cimino treatment of Desperate Hours which is a set up for so many one liners it is difficult to restrain oneself. If movies were rated on offbeat pacing, incongruous music, silly escapes and uneven performances this would be a tour de force. As it is Desperate Hours makes for a bit of a time waster on a rainy day but not much more. Crime movies – or escape movies – without tension are not really worth the effort. A topless Kelly Lynch and a decent performance by Anthony Hopkins can make up for some of the problems and Rourke himself delivers a decent performance but all in all this was a poor choice to start off this collection.

Second up is a movie that is so bad it qualifies as good. One of my personal favourite bad movies (I have a ton of them) Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man ranks as a true gift to disjointed storytelling, over the top acting, semi-philosophical quotes and just plain fun. In a world gone mad with drugs and bank profiteering (no really) Harley and Marlboro rob the wrong people with the expected results of gunfire and explosions. This is a real romp of a movie but really – really bad. If you are a fan of the bad movie as a subgenre you will enjoy Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man.

The Pope of Greenwich Village stands out as a classic Mickey Rourke vehicle as well as a showcase for a young Eric Roberts in one of the most enjoyable gangster movies of the mid ‘80s. Technically The Pope of Greenwich Village is not really a gangster movie – more of a heist movie with gangsters involved. Mickey Rourke plays Charlie who has a cousin Paulie (Roberts). Paulie’s elevator doesn’t quite make it to the top of the building. There are things that just shouldn’t go together in this world and robbing the mob to lay off a bet on a “sure thing” should probably top the list. The Pope of Greenwich Village is a very good movie with standout performances and solid direction – well worth your time.

As mentioned earlier A Prayer for the Dying just doesn’t pass muster as a good movie - it also doesn't fall into the category of a "good" bad movie. There is a solid performance from Bob Hoskins as a priest if you are looking for a high point but the rest is a wash. If you do decide to watch this one try and figure out how someone can get from being an attempt to be held prisoner aboard a ship at the docks to a church tower in town to rescue a priest and a little girl in under ten seconds. Even those who are generous in their suspension of disbelief will be hard pressed to enjoy this dubious film making effort.

The Mickey Rourke Collection will find no permanent place in my DVD library. Mickey Rourke will in Diner, Sin City and The Wrestler but beyond that if I ever get the urge to see the rest of his oeuvre it will have to be rented.

Denis Bernicky

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