The Fan

A Review by Jason L. King

Starring: Robert Deniro, Wesley Snipes, Benicio Del Torro
Directed By: Tony Scott
Rated: Rated R for language and violence
Movie Released: 1996
IMDB Link

Final Grade: <

As I delved back into my own rental shelves and searched for something to watch, I picked up my copy of the Deniro and Tony Scott film, The Fan. The film is a sports film that really brings the dark side of sports to life, and I think that is why I really enjoy the film a much as I do.

The film follows Gil Renard (DeNiro) a unemployed knife salesman and die hard Giants fan who becomes obsessed with his favorite team’s 40 million dollar slugger, Bobby Rayburn (Wesley Snipes). When Rayburn goes into a hitting slump, Gil thinks he can help Rayburn rekindle his once great hitting average, even if that means stooping to the level of murder.

It is the story that I enjoy most about this film. I love sports, don’t get me wrong, but I am not an obsessive. However, I do know people who are obsessed with the game of baseball, football or whatever their chosen poison is. It’s just a game!! One year you are booing a player because they play for your rival (The Packers perhaps) the next year you are rooting for them because that player found his common sense and joined another team (The Vikings). It’s all a bunch of hogwash! —Wow did that just turn into a Brett Favre rant?

Anyhow, DeNiro does a great job of exposing the crazy inter workings of an obsessed fan and crazy person. It’s like mixing DeNiro’s version of Max Cady from Cape Fear with a baseball obsessed divorcee. DeNiro plays scary well- again. But then again, DeNiro plays scary well most of the time. That’s what he does best. As for his counterpart, Wesley Snipes, well Wesley does what Wesley does best. He stands there and spews his lines like an overpaid one liner. He’s pretty much just re-hashing a more serious version of “Billy Mays Hayes” from Major League (before Omar Epps took over for him). Snipes doesn’t do anything new and exciting, but he is a believable ball player none the less.

Every time that I have revisited the fan, it reminds me that director Tony Scott knows how to construct a film. Leading up the “The Fan” Tony Scott brought us films like Beverly Hills Cop 2, Days of Thunder, Top Gun, The Last Boy Scout, True Romance and Crimson Tide. In my opinion, The Fan was one of the last “great” films of Tony Scott’s decade of greatness.

The Tony Scott that viewers get to see now has turned into his own version of Gil Renard, but instead of obsessed with baseball is more obsessed with style than substance. Scott’s films over the last few years, Enemy of the State, Man on Fire, Domino, Deja Vu have all been grainy, grey green, ADD induced hand held shots drug across a plodding and heavy plot line. It’s not the Tony Scott I grew up watching and loving, and I am saddened by the change. However, The Fan pre-dates the reformed Tony Scott era, and so there is a mixture of style and story. The film shows that Tony is just beginning to be a bit more experimental in his film making but not enough to be distracting like it is now. The Fan is just a nice balance.

Should you rent this or not? I say yes. I find enjoyment in the film. No, it is not the same enjoyment you would get out of watching “Rookie of the Year” or “The Sandlot” but its a good suspense film all the same. No, it’s not for the kids, it carries a hard “R” and be prepared to think DeNiro is a real jerk in the film- so much so it is almost uncomfortable. But if you want to travel to the dark side of sports and obsessive fans- check out “The Fan.”

–writers note: At the time of posting, “The Fan” is available online at: Crackle.com. or can be picked up to own at a big box retailer like Walmart and Bestbuy for $5.

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