The Saint (2016)
July 22, 2017 10:05 PM - Subscribe

International master thief, Simon Templar, also known as The Saint, is asked by a desperate rich man to find his kidnapped daughter. However, in addition to evading the authorities, Simon must face a dangerous adversary from his past.

Yet another reboot of an old show. A low-budget, boring, and bland Bond-esque movie. Only it doesn't star the epically ungrateful Daniel Craig and doesn't involve MI6. It does have Eliza Dushku in the Moneypenny-type role and a cameo from Roger Moore.

Mid-level criminal electronically steals money from a poor African country* but then has a change of heart. However, instead of returning the funds where he found them, he concocts an elaborate scheme to hide the funds that involves creating a secret compartment in an old ring, hiding a fake diamond in the ring, and a series of tubes. We're also introduced to The Brotherhood, a secret organization apparently solely dedicated to eradicating the Templar family (stealing money may be just their way of funding their mission). They're down to just Simon so I guess they're doing well. Then again, they missed him as a 12-yr old kid, so who knows.

There's also a wicked stepmother, cheating in prep school, a kidnapping, Simon's betrayal by a teacher, and a truly weird, vaguely obscene joke involving an old man and his very young and busty wife. It's still boring. Don't bother watching this.

The IMDB summary is a little misleading. The guy's daughter is kidnapped because The Brotherhood wants the money they arranged for him to steal. He hides the money instead of returning it to the African country or The Brotherhood.

*Funnily enough, no other poor countries exist in the world. At least this time the writers eschewed the corrupt African ruler trope.
posted by jojo and the benjamins (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It did manage to pass the Bechdel test.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 10:38 PM on July 22, 2017

Their leading man appears to have made his whole career off being in facsimiles of other, more successful movies and shows.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 1:58 AM on July 23, 2017

*sigh* How on earth do you mess up a straightforward concept like The Saint? And yet, they managed to do so, twice.
posted by happyroach at 2:25 AM on July 23, 2017

I knew this was in the works for ages and ages--it was originally supposed to be a TV show reboot, but somehow I missed the actual release. (I'm assuming it was a direct-to-video dumping).

I thought the Val Kilmer version was bad enough and far enough off the mark when it comes to what The Saint is and what it could be but this one sounds exponentially worse. I don't know if it's even worth the effort for me to acquire a copy of it and hate-watch it. I suspect not.

Seriously, what happyroach said: this should be a simple concept to convert directly to TV or the movies. They managed to do it in the 1960s with the Roger Moore version--a lot of those episodes were lifted directly from the text both in terms of plot and dialogue--so why is it so hard now? Yes, you have to account for modern technology but it still shouldn't be rocket science. I personally know some very good people who are dedicated and devoted to Leslie Charteris' legacy who are more than capable of assisting in this kind of task, but they'd never be given the go-ahead by whatever producer/studio/etc. to actually put an end to this kind of mess.
posted by sardonyx at 7:48 AM on July 23, 2017

I'd never heard of this movie and I never saw the Kilmer one because it sounded terrible.

The problem is Roger Moore made it look too easy. He wasn't the most versatile actor around but he absolutely inhabited this role (better than his James Bond) so now producers think any pretty boy will do.

I was watching the series on cable so I strongly identify The Saint in that 60s milieu, bespoke tailoring, cigarettes, European capitals, heiresses with diamond necklaces, etc. If they revive it, I wish they would keep it in that period. I understand the books are from an earlier period.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:51 PM on July 23, 2017

The books span the 1930s (okay 1928 or 1920 depending on whether you count the first book) to the 1960s (or early 1970s, depending on if you count the ones not written by Charteris but still published with his okay).

Doing a TV or movie adaptation as a period piece (pick a period anytime during those decades) is usually the fan-favourite approach, and I think it's my preference too, but if they feel the need to modernize the setting, that's fine, but there is no need to dress it up with stupid backstories or convoluted origins or all of the other baggage producers seem desperate to impose.

If anybody is interested in finding out more about The Saint, here's the website to use.
posted by sardonyx at 3:23 PM on July 23, 2017

I'd never heard of this movie and I never saw the Kilmer one because it sounded terrible.

I'd never heard of this movie but I saw the Kilmer one: it was not so much terrible as hopelessly forgettable and indistinct. I missed the (2016) up top and dutifully read the plot summary, saying to myself, "Sure, I guess that happened," although I was puzzled by the mention of Eliza Dushku. I just thought we were talking about a twenty-year-old movie and I could not remember a thing about it.

Looking at its IMDB page, it seems to have the requisite passel of actors I did not really know then in tiny roles (Emily Mortimer as "Woman on Plane"! Tommy Flanagan typecast as "Scarface"!) which actually makes me curious to watch it again.

Oh, who am I kidding?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:57 PM on July 23, 2017

I think Simon Templar would probably shave more often, wouldn't he?

If we want to do comparative Saints, it might be a good idea to drop in the late 70s Ian Ogilvy version.

(I remember nothing about it, other than that it seems to have been the last of the ITC mystery shows, which had included the original Roger Moore The Saint, Department S, The Persuaders!, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and many others. Doesn't really compare with them, though. Actually, the one thing I do remember is that they had a cameo for the punk band The Saints.)
posted by Grangousier at 3:58 AM on July 28, 2017

Their leading man appears to have made his whole career off being in facsimiles of other, more successful movies and shows.

I didn't even know that there was a live-action Dragon Age series until now.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:09 AM on July 31, 2017

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