Silver Streak

Synopsis: The most hilarious suspense ride of your life!

In this wild comedy adventure, rail passenger George Caldwell (Gene Wilder) finds that a romantic escapade with a sultry secretary (Jill Clayburgh) puts him in the middle of a Hitchcockian murder plot. Leaping on and of the train, in and out of roomettes, bars and dining cars, George teams up with an amiable, small-time crook (Richard Pryor) to defy the murderer’s henchmen, FBI agents and a host of other outrageous characters.
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Silver Streak 6.0

I guess you could say that I have a fondness for films that take place on trains or that have scenes on a train – for some reason those moments are the most memorable ones that could to my mind.

I don’t know why, but ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ and ‘The Great Train Robbery’ draw me in like magnets. And, when I think of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, ‘North By Northwest’, ‘From Russia With Love’, and even ‘Under Siege 2’ (God forbid!), I automatically think of the train sequences first and foremost.

So you’d think that a suspenseful, yet zany, train adventure might also do the trick. And, you’d think that the writer of ‘Harold and Maude’ could come up with something fresh and exciting.

Sadly, I’ve never been much of a fan of Gene Wilder’s or his films – I usually find him a bit off-putting and the humour is frequently too corny for my tastes. So, being that he’s the star of this show, ‘Silver Streak’ already had a strike against it.

Nonetheless, I expected to derive some satisfaction in some of the zaniness. Problem is, the material is pretty bland, clichéd (and, thus, its course is easily devined by the viewer – which is a problem in any suspense story), and sometimes too contrived to be enjoyable.

Still, there were some fun bits along the way, and things did pick up quite a bit when Richard Pryor showed up, about ¾ of the way in. I mean, it wasn’t the most memorable performance ever, but the film was certainly much more enjoyable then – no doubt due to Wilder and Pryor’s chemistry (which would serve them somewhat well for a few more films).

So, is the suspense gripping? No. Is the comedy gut-busting? No. Is the adventure exciting? Relatively. Basically, ‘Silver Streak’ has its moments, but it’s mostly a dull, surprise-free ride.

What do you think?

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