By Jeff Walsh
"In Her Line Of Fire" finds Mariel Hemingway as a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the Vice President of the United States (David Keith). While en route to a diplomatic tour of Asia, their plane crashes in the South Pacific, leaving the survivors on a remote island where they are kidnapped by rebel soldiers that intend to sell the vice president to the highest bidder.
The movie is a taut, action-packed thriller. No gaping holes in the plot. The main issue is that for this story to work its magic on you, you really have to buy into the notion that it's a woman kicking all these guys' asses. That is the conceit of the story. If that seems empowering or makes you want to see the movie even more, then you're off to a good start. If your reaction is "So? She's a woman, and...?!" then there's a good chance it will seem like a formulaic movie with a woman playing the Stallone role. Maybe some people really are attracted to a movie where a tough, no-nonsense woman, aiming to teach rebel soldiers a lesson, straps on a huge gun and gives them their come-uppance.
I'm not taking a cheap shot at the movie. The tagline for the movie is "The Best Man For the Job... Was A Woman." This is clearly their hook (line and sinker sold separately). Hemingway is believable as a tough-as-nails warrior trying to protect the vice president and a female member of the press corps that are being held hostage. She has some kick-ass karate scenes (I've never understood the mystical power karate has when, after everyone is chasing after, shooting and her trying to kill her, when it is learned she knows karate, she and another guy get to have a show of their martial arts prowess while everyone else stands around and watches... can't someone else just shoot her? But this isn't the first example of this odd behavior by any means).
Aside from the formulaic angle, there's really nothing to ding here. You know what you're getting when you pop it into the player and it delivers it. The only missing element is that Hemingway doesn't have any taglines or catchphrases after she blows something up or strategically kills a bad guy, which I'm accustomed to from the Stallone/Schwartzenegger school of action dialogue.
As for the lesbian angle, it would be wrong to assume that a butch, tough, military chick is automatically a lesbian... seriously, it would. But in keeping with the formula here, there is often a small romantic interest in these sorts of movies, and there is that aforementioned female member of the press.
But, in a world where movies often fail to deliver, go off on strange tangents, make unnecessary political points, there's something rewarding about a movie that just says, "I am what I am, and what I am needs no excuses!" If you just need a movie where a tough chick opens a can of whoop ass on some bad guys, don't look any further. It's all here.