Bird on a Wire relied on the public personas of leads Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn as selling points upon its release in the late 80s. Which is oddly apt I guess, seeing as the film itself is attractive and acceptable only on face value, and is in fact sadly lacking under the shiny visage.
The only thing holding back a major international drug deal is… Rick (Mel Gibson). Why is never explained, especially given Rick is in witness protection and hasn’t been seen for years.
This all changes in one big day for Rick. In his ‘cover’ job as a mechanic at a service station in the middle of nowhere, Rick chances upon Marianne, an ex-girlfriend who is now a powerful and wealthy lawyer. But that’s just the first ‘happening’ on this day, which will see Rick’s cover blown, his boss dead and trained killers on his – and Marianne’s heels.
The modern day equivalent of this film is Knight & Day, a preposterous and sterile action blockbuster with no attention to detail that relies on the high profile leads to drag in the punters. Without Mel and Goldie (or Tom and Cammy) the respective films would vanish without trace.
Mel does his best playing up to previous undercover personas (“Ooooh Girl. He has a pony-tail and was gay! Mmm-mmm…”) and Goldie plays Goldie to the hilt, a sort of likable airhead city girl out of her comfort zone what with all these bullets and the fresh air. This is clearly evidenced by the fact that her every move demands a stunt double;
“So Goldie. This next scene has you walking across the lawn to the car…”
“The lawn? Oh NO! This wasn’t in the script. Where is my agent? And my latte and mirror for that matter. ALFONSE THEY’RE DOING IT AGAIN!”
*Sigh* “Can we have Ms Hawn’s double to set please?”
Bird on a Wire has two formerly famous and well liked stars run about in a stunt filled and action packed comedy that offers a bit of everything but ultimately lots of nothing. It is light and fluffy fare for the easily pleased starring a duo Mel and Goldie, now easily forgotten and easily hated respectively.
Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. While it has its merits, Bird on a Wire offers little more than superficial and fleeting enjoyment. However if shiny and pleasant distractions are your thing then you could do worse.