Punching Day: Live Wire

I love reading this website. It feels like our own private li’l “Midnight Society”. But instead of sharing tall tales about Neve Campbell battling evil soup, we gather for REAL tales of cursed cultural artifacts. Today, for your approval, I present Live Wire – a movie about Pierce Brosnan battling evil glasses of water. Water is bombs, in this movie, runtime 85 minutes.

This is cursed beyond its “silly movie” layer. There is actual, accursed, built-on-a-burial-ground style grimness within this flick. But we gotta start with the bomb-water. This movie depends on you getting interested in the following premise: Euro-terrorists devised a chemical. When the chemical gets added to water, and then mixed with the stomach acids of a person who drank the water, that person will combust. Humongously. Plus there’s a middle step before the explosion, where their eyes turn red and they start wiggling around. That’s the hook of this movie: a technology where one sip of evil water turns anyone into several tons of dynamite.

I acknowledge that this premise almost works. Conceptually, it’s scary that anybody could blow anybody else up with innocent-looking water. But this almost-good idea gains a lot of hilarity in its path from the page to the screen. The screenwriter types “terrorist!” The resulting movie points its quick cuts and ominous music in the general direction of…a limo driver re-loading drinks.

Or a judge who is thirsty.

Or a clown, with “lemonade.”

GoldenEye it ain’t. And I know what you’re thinking: “Pierce Brosnan must have made this crummy movie one million billion years before he was famous.” That is what you are thinking, right now. I am a psychic. It’s freaky! Anyway, Live Wire was intended as a huge movie. It came out in 1992, and it was supposed to be Pierce Brosnan’s Die Hard. You can tell because it copy-pastes a lot of Die Hard. Brosnan plays a tormented Police Guy slash (Estranged) Wife Guy, forced to defeat a Euro-terrorist plot masterminded by a good actor from British dramas. Armed only with his wits, a few guns, and his Black Friend, Pierce McClane re-Wifes his life by impressing her by saving the world.

Live Wire also makes a few key additions to this format:

🌭 Bomb Water (as discussed).

🌭 Brosnan’s Police Guy is a Police Bomb Defuser, specifically. (So look out, Bomb Water!)

🌭 Black Friend has his own Robot Best Friend. (Whatever robot you’re imagining, think cheaper.)

🌭 Ron Silver.

Hey, wow: that haircut! Ron Silver plays a United States Senator, with that haircut. That is the most fantastical element of this film – a film where James Bond and a robot hunt terrorists doing spontaneous human combustions. That coiffure is still the most bonkers element. Live Wire claims Ron Silver could get elected to Congress while sporting the exact hairdo of Lord Farquaad (from Shrek) and Dianne Feinstein (from the United States Senate).

But enough about fictional universe-based Senators. I’m only here because of Pierce Brosnan. I’m a fan! He’s my James Bond and I don’t care who knows it. He’s the whole reason I’ve watched The King’s Daughter for your benefit. Pierce’s life is the doorway to the most cursed, bizarre rabbit hole hidden within Live Wire. But the business side of this movie is cursed too. It failed! Singularly! Live Wire was a wide-release summer tentpole, back when those were things. It was such a non-hit, Pierce Brosnan’s Wikipedia page describes a different 1992 Pierce Brosnan movie (The Lawnmower Man) AND a 1992 Pierce Brosnan not-picked-up television pilot, with no mention of this multi-million dollar blockbuster released that same year. And he was famous at the time! One year later, Brosnan villain-starred in Mrs. Doubtfire. One year after that, he got announced as the new James Bond. Which thrills me! That means thousands of people heard the James Bond casting news, and muttered “That guy from Die Wire?”, after spit-taking their 1994 Beverage (Fruitopia).

Let’s begin the movie. As you know, it’s an action/sci-fi film. Those usually begin with thrills. Live Wire, due to Premise Problems, begins with ominous b-roll of water – and then red water.

Next they present the movie’s title. Which is also wet. Wet and steamy.

After that Schlitterbahn of a credit sequence, the movie proceeds to show you dry text. Which I’ve screencapped. Warning: this block of text I’m about to show you will feel gross and out-of-nowhere. It feels that same way in the film.

Reminder: this movie came out in 1992. Question: can a thrown-together Die Hard ripoff cause a real-life terrorist attack, by doing a humongous jinx? Because the World Trade Center got bombed within months of this movie’s release. And then attacked again, later, in a way I do not need to hyperlink. Remember when I said this movie is legitimately, nightmarishly cursed? Well oh no, oh god, there are more blocks of text.

What a pile of words. Words that accurately capture America’s political stability and lack of sad bombings. Anyway the film knows it’s making you read. It’s losing precious seconds to reel you in. So its next moment is soundtracked with a badass guitar sting. However, this is not the main thing you notice. Because as your ears begin to 🤘rock🤘, your eyes are looking at a duck.

A duck! Fun! I know this shot is also a shot of the U.S. Capitol Building, reflected in water (i.e. The Bad Guy). That’s probably what they storyboarded. But you do not notice what they storyboarded. You notice a big funny white duck dominating the first shot of the whole movie, with the exact musical backing of a WWE entrance.

They probably needed a duck-free shot of this. They definitely didn’t bother spending time and money getting one. This whole movie feels thrown together in that way. With each passing minute, there’s a new jarring li’l whoopsie. Such as this phone call, between two people in the same city. One end is a sunny day and the other end is a rainy night.

There’s also this thrilling employee management situation, where the Euro-villain kills off his Science Henchman by neck-stabbing him with a pen.

This scene is written so the villain isn’t carrying a pen. Because that would be impossible? So before the murder, he asks Sci-Henchman to lend him a pen. 

So if Doctor Science wasn’t carrying a pen, the villain…just strangles him? Or if Sci-Doc is carrying a crummy Bic, the villain…inks him to death? I know that’s not an important problem. Neither is the duck. Neither is another part of this movie, where Pierce and Black Friend go to a high-security carnival, and the carnival staff put Black Friend’s Robot through a metal detector.

This movie DOES NOT HAVE TIME for thinking through that stuff. This is ACTION filmmaking, focused on how HARDCORE the main character is. Pierce Brosnan’s Character is so hardcore, he attends carnivals to do two things: interrogate clowns, and whack clowns’ noses off when they aren’t quick enough to answer the question “have you seen any suspicious water?”

This HARDCORENESS gets-a-rippin’ from Pierce’s first scene. When we meet him, he’s in the middle of defusing a car bomb and ogling a vagina.

Does Pierce defeat this (non-water) bomb? He does. He defeats it so hard, he can barely keep his shirt on.

But wait – what’s that item electrical-taped to Pierce’s ribcage?

An item he tape-rips off of his ribcage? (hardcore!) It’s a set of photos of Pierce and His Wife and His Child (family!).

Pierce sarcastically (hardcore!) lets us know the pictures are his lucky charm (family!) for defusing bombs (hardcore!). One millisecond later, a flip-up sunglasses man enters this active crime scene to serve Pierce a restraining order from His Wife (famcore!).

Pierce spends the rest of the movie battling sinister bombs while battling to get His Wife back. That is his central pair of dramas. Those two threads intersect because Pierce has to solve both problems. Those threads also intersect at His Wife’s vagina. For you see, the Euro-terrorists are targeting United States Senators. Pierce’s Wife has moved on to a new relationship with United States Haircut-Senator Ron Silver. In the end, Pierce wins His Wife back, nominally by solving the terrorism. It’s not convincing, in the movie. But it makes more sense than his other strategy for getting her back, which is to show up wherever she is and do Actually Scary Yelling at her.

The movie excuses this yelling by making Pierce a Justifiably Sad Man. He is sad about their daughter’s death. Still, Pierce spends basically the entire movie being sad about losing His Wife – except for each time a person is mid-explosion, and one scene where he Recaptures His Wife’s Vagina. He does this in a candlelit bathtub. She loves this. She also keeps wearing an entire terry cloth bathrobe throughout this tub-lovin’, because there is no hotter pork-sperience than feeling like you’re inside a swim meet’s hamper.

This element of the movie is its most accursed element…if you know real life stuff about My Hero, Pierce Brosnan. This is about to get more cursed than you think it will. CURSE WARNING begins now. Because in real life, Pierce Brosnan lost his wife Cassandra Harris to a long battle with cancer. She died in 1991. Here is her photo: 

The movie Live Wire came out in 1992. Pierce plays a guy pining for His Wife, who is played by this actor:

Are you noticing what I am noticing about this movie that was filmed in 1991? I am confident somebody noticed. The production of this movie involved a meeting where Pierce had to say “hey by the way, you’re making me re-experience my raw grief.” And a higher-up replied “we blew our emergency-switch-actresses budget on the robot.” I hate it. I hate it so much I’m a little bit obsessed with it. It’s so tragic it’s thrilling. Pierce bursts into disjointed yelling in every scene with that gal, and I watched this movie knowing why.

Anyway, bomb stuff. The Euro-terrorists are assassinating Senators with water-combustion bombs, because some Senators blocked a $10 million dollar arms deal. (In 1992, $10 million could hire two good baseball players for one season.) Pierce figures this plot out quickly, yet too slowly. Then he and Ron Silver do a Die Hard in Ron Silver’s big house. Pierce’s Now-Loved-Up Wife is also there. Pierce gets shot in the chest with a gun, and he keeps acting normal for several minutes until the battle’s over. The end of the battle is Euro-villain consuming his own chemical, to blow up the heroes with his own body. He does this because Euro-villain is too suicidally angry to run away, regroup, and slip Pierce a future Bomb Evian.

Pierce chucks the bomb-villain out of the house, and they all leap a safe distance away…

…except for Ron Silver, who gets impaled (Pierce-d?????) by his own spiky rich-guy fence, as justice for his numerous crimes (corruption, fashion, Wife-Thefting).

The movie doesn’t quite know how to end itself from there. So they have Pierce solve another car bomb, while ogling the same lady’s same vagina from the beginning. Also in the middle of this bomb defusal situation, which takes a total of fifteen seconds, he receives a phone call telling him His Wife had Their Baby. Thrilled he’s finally solved his child’s death by making a replacement, Pierce joyously sprints away, probably to go to the hospital. This is the final shot of the movie (timecode: 1:21:05). And it’s filmed with the wobbliest Rising Helicopter Shot I’ve ever experienced.

So there you have it. Much like Albert Camus’s Sisyphus, one must imagine Pierce Brosnan happy. I’d like to think he kept on sprinting, for thousands of miles, from Live Wire’s Washington D.C. to Mrs. Doubtfire’s San Francisco home exterior and nicer craft services table. Sprinting to a better life, where his movies are hits, and his cinematic romantic interests are not cast for maximum widower-torment. Pierce seems nice. He seems like a guy who just wants to be a good husband and also a good friend and co-worker. He got past this film. And that’s my wish for all of us: the luck to land a great next job, coming on the heels of an intensely shitty job, awaiting us beyond the frame of that wobbly helicopter shot.

6 replies on “Punching Day: Live Wire”

Fruitopia was certainly the bomb but my fav 90’s beverage is back in stores, yo!
Snapple Elements! Rain! Fire! The other ones that werent Rain or Fire!

What a wholesome article, it’s always refreshing to see Alex’s stuff on my favourite snack food branded internet comedy website!

As a former semi-professional Bassonist, aka I majored in it before dropping out of my first university and took money from priests to play the trombone part of christmas/easter hymns, I have saved and will now make this graphic my entire personality, “oh-fuck-that-is-not-lemonade”, as expressed by bassoon

Ron Silver was still basking in the fame of his role as Detective Mickey McSorely in the film “Eat and Run (1987).”

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