Fair Game (1995) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

One of the greatest problems in the former Soviet Union was the subjugation of science to political ideology. For many years, Stalin gave considerable latitude over many areas of Soviet science to an agronomist named Lysenko who was, more or less, an anti-geneticist. After World War II, in the fever of Stalinism, there arose a scandal in the world scientific community over Lysenko's reliance on Party authority in scientific discussions. To simplify a complex story, Lysenko's power within the society relegated genetics to second class scientific status in the USSR, during a time when the rest of the world was discovering its importance. Geneticists left the country if there was any way to do so. The word "Lysenkoism" is familiar to everyone who participated in the intellectual life of the Russian scientific community. It signifies "bureaucratic interference in intellectual life" or "ideological distortion of science". The influence of ideology, as well as the state's social engineering in the imperial determination of which sciences held favor, could have worked out well if Lysenko and the other influential thinkers had guessed right about the scientific needs of the future. Unfortunately, they did not, so the net result of Lysenkoism was that the Soviet Union, despite the world's best programs in many scientific disciplines, found itself with no competency in two of the most important sciences of the late 20th century, genetics and computer science. (Lysenko was personally responsible only for genetics. It was others who decided that computers were evil and unnecessary.)

Closing down the free markets of ideas didn't work any better than closing the free markets of trade.

The reason I mention this is that scriptwriters never seem to be aware of the fact that so many areas of Soviet technology were decades behind the west, including computer science.

Although real Russians have struggled mightily to achieve parity with the world in these fields, movie Russians seem to have conquered computers long before the West. In this film, in 1995, they type in the name of Cindy Crawford's character and soon have a map of her neighborhood on their screen, pinpointing her house. They press a button, and at the same time all this information is passed to their evil assassins, they have also passed on information about her shabby siding and roof to unscrupulous housing contractors. They even had their operating system written in the Cyrillic alphabet, meaning that they essentially developed it all independent of the rest of the world. And those were the least impressive functions of their system. These guys are good.

Makes you wonder why, if they are so smart, they speak English with Bullwinkle accents.

They are also kind of inconsistent. After trying to kill Cindy for the entire movie, when the baddies finally capture her, their leader tells them not to harm her.

On the other hand, you can forgive him for this. As is mandatory in all cheesy "intrigue" films, they have to tie her up so they can tell her the plot before killing her.



Cindy Crawford shows her breasts in an extremely dark boxcar sex scene with William Baldwin. Crawford changes her shirt in another scene, but her face is not seen. Crawford is also seen in a wet white t-shirt with no bra.

William Baldwin shows his butt in the boxcar sex scene.

Although it is a common belief that supermodels are doomed to fail as actresses, the facts don't support that position. Models run through the same full gamut of performance as anyone else.
  • Jessica Lange, after a poor start, worked hard to become one of the finest actresses in modern film.
  • Paulina Porizkova and Milla Jovovich haven't achieved at the Lange level, but have had their good moments.
  • Wandering to the other end of the scale, Kathy Ireland has probably shown less acting ability than anyone in the history of acting.
  • and others like Tyra Banks have managed to avoid complete embarrassment, but without any great successes.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Full-screen format

  • no features

Cindy Crawford got some bad notices for her performance here, but I'd say she was about in the middle of the supermodel scale. She isn't Lange, but she is no worse than Lange was in King Kong. She showed less originality and flair for characterization than Porizkova and Jovovich, but she was light years beyond the Ireland level. I think James Berardinelli was quite accurate in his assessment that Cindy would have been a perfect mate for ex-hubby Richard Gere, if the only applicable criteria were looks and basic acting ability. She is a female Gere - very attractive and almost completely devoid of personality on camera. Gere is, of course, a more proficient performer, but Cindy has not had time to develop any skills. 


Fair Game (1995) is one of those actioners that people love to dump on, but is not mind-numbingly bad.

Cindy Crawford is a divorce lawyer. and has no idea that  her discovery of and demand for assets her client's husband had hidden threatened to spoil a multi-million dollar caper. Her first clue is when a gunshot narrowly misses her, but she is not even sure it was meant for her. That night, turning on her TV activates a shaped charge of plastic explosives that would have killed her had she not been standing on the balcony.  William Baldwin is the cop on the case, and the two start on the run from a hit squad of former KJB operatives who use electronics to track them.

It is half action and half cat and mouse, but leans ever more heavily on the action as the film goes on.

Critics were pretty much universal in trashing the film. I don't see why. There are great special effects, lots of action, some of it innovative, some intentional humor, and decent production standards. If you are in the right mood, it is watchable.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: one and a half stars. Ebert 2/4, Berardinelli 0.5/4,

The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars: it grossed $11 million. IMDb reports that the budget was $50 million.


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, Scoop says, "this film is a C-. Most critics and viewers liked it less than I did. I thought it was a (barely) watchable actioner overall, but filled with clichés, and with many laughably bad moments. In all fairness, the stunt people did a helluva job on this film, blowing up cars and boats and leaping from exploding buildings. It's primarily a vehicle movie, which also has car chases, a car/train chase, a helicopter/train chase, etc.". Tuna says, "Critics were pretty much universal in trashing the film. I don't see why. There are great special effects, lots of action, some of it innovative, some intentional humor, and decent production standards. IN the right mood, it is watchable. C-".

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