As Charlie Sheen prepares for his “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option” tour of the United States, I’m in the midst of a tour of my own. I’m taking a cinematic tour through Charlie’s films, revisiting old favorites and perhaps discovering a few new gems along the way.
The next stop on my tour de Chuck: Terminal Velocity (1994)
I actually remember seeing this in theaters when it came out. And I loved it. Granted, I was eleven. I’ve re-watched it since then, and while it is silly, I still love it. You know why? It’s a skydiving movie, all about action and adrenaline and fun. Skydiving movies are about the thrills. There’s no room for hubris in a skydiving movie. No one makes a skydiving movie thinking they’ll win an Oscar . . . well, except maybe Gary Busey (Point Break, Drop Zone).
I can’t help but have a good time when watching Terminal Velocity. Sure, it’s not Charlie Sheen’s most complex role, but that doesn’t mean he’s any less charming or funny. As Richard “Ditch” Brodie (“Ditch” being a combination of Dick and Rich), while he may not be the toughest guy or know how to fire a gun, with his free-flowing stream of sardonic one-liners and adrenaline-fueled (at least I hope it was adrenaline) intensity, Sheen sure is fun to watch.
Ditch is a daredevil skydiving instructor. When Chris (Nastassja Kinski), a sexy new student, inexplicably falls to her death, Ditch takes the blame. Convinced that everything is not as it seems, he investigates things for himself. And when he stumbles upon Chris’ plot to fake her death it sets off a chain reaction, thrusting Ditch into the middle of an international conspiracy, complete with Russian spies, a plane-full of stolen gold, and a three-legged dog named Tripod.
Terminal Velocity also stars Christopher McDonald, and James Gandolfini. On a personal note, Gandolfini’s performance in Terminal Velocity coupled with his performance in True Romance, released the year before, had me terrified of him as a child, at least until Get Shorty (1995).
But, I digress. Back to the man of the hour. With Sheen’s cut and dry delivery of lines like: “I’m much more than a walking penis. I’m a flying penis,” and, “Let’s just say she did for bullshit what Stonehenge did for rocks,” Terminal Velocity is a ridiculous good time, that clearly doesn’t take itself seriously. And it’s all the better for it. I don’t know how Charlie feels about it, but I was amused. So, sit back, relax, turn off the analytical part of your brain and enjoy the ride.