Last night, as I counted down the hours until “The Defenders” premiered, I noticed something peculiar on Netflix. In the just released section, there was a 2017 movie called “The Saint.”
How could this be? There’s a new movie based on Simon Templar, that has a Roger Moore cameo, and co-stars my fellow Bostonian Eliza Dushku, and I knew nothing about it? Sigh, I must be loosing my movie knowledge in my old age. Anyways, I had to watch this new Saint adaptation, to see what I missed.
The film sees International master thief, Simon Templar (Adam Rayner), also known as The Saint, helping a desperate banker to find his kidnapped daughter. In return, the banker will give Templar the stolen $2 billion that was meant for aid relief in Africa.
The case sounds simple enough, however, The Saint also has to deal with the authorities who have been after him for years. And if that wasn’t enough, Simon will be forced to face am adversary from his past.
As usual, Templar is assisted by Patricia Holm (Eliza Dushku), who provides live intelligence from her laptop or whatever other gadget that’s handy. If you’re a fan of the books, you’ll recognise Holm as Simon’s on and off again love interest, but in this film the relationship is more professional which was kind of cool to see.
Overall, this new Saint is pretty good, but hardly perfect. The stunts in the film are rather good considering this was done on a television budget. But the filmmakers definitely got their money’s worth. Each set piece and location were dressed to look their best, and the effort shows throughout the film.
The maun story is too simple, and nothing we haven’t seen before. However, this movie gave us glimpses into Simon Templar’s past. We see him in school, at home with his dad, and how he became a trained fighter. This movie even reveals something about the family name. Maybe all this information has appeared before in the tv show or movies, but it was new to me.
My favorite parts of “The Saint” were easily its two leads. Adam Rayner and Eliza Dushku have great chemistry, and the banter between then felt natural. Whatever he dishes, she sends right back at him. We also get to see how Simon and Patricia met, and it wasn’t as glamorous as you might expect.
Adam Rayner plays Simon with charm and humor, and he looks good in the action scenes. He was particularly good when he had to dress up as someone else. For someone in theri late 30’s, Rayner fit nicely into the role. And I liked the gag about him having a beard early on, which I think was a holdover from his days on “Tyrant.”
Meanwhile, my girl Eliza Dushku stole every scene she was in. She was terrific as Patricia, and I thought she gave a new life to the character. Dushku is funny, beautiful, and can handle her fair share of action. But I’m biased. Ever since I met Eliza Dushku at Wizard World Boston 2005, I’m always going to have a soft sport for her.
From what I understand, this movie was initially intended as a television pilot to reboot the classic series. Last I heard, Roger Moore has at least some control over the rights to the Saint. But now that he’s gone, I don’t know where that stands.
But I’ll tell you this: I would happily watch a regular Saint series starring Adam Rayner and Eliza Dushku any day of the week.
“The Saint” score: B