reviewed by Tom-Tom
We’ve seen Henry Thomas playing with toys to the delight of an alien and the audience members in E.T. Here too he plays notepad and dice RPG’s with Kim (Christina Nigra), a very indulgent young lady who speaks with the mannerism of a high class society New Yorker. It’s summer vacation and they’re hanging out in a video game store with Morris, a typical overweight, bearded comic book store like guy who is also indulgent of the two kids loitering in his shop. Thomas plays David G. Osborne, a little boy who lost his mother and has been burrowing into fantasy to relieve himself of the stress of everyday life. His imaginary friend, idealized hero Jack Flak is played by Dabney Coleman, the same actor interestingly enough who plays his father.
With all of these imaginary goings on, it is with some surprise that real menace befalls David (called Davey by his father and Jack) when he goes to get some twinkies from the vending machine on the same floor as a video game manufacturer. Even this menial task is taken with spy like bravado. He takes the stairs while little Kim takes the elevator. Nothing in even his wildest imaginary could have prepared Davey for what he finds.
A man has been shot by two thuggish types Dave spotted boarding the elevator where he last left his friend Kim. In his dying words, the fatally shot man gives Dave an Atari video game cartridge and tells him to take it and run. The murderers pursue the boy shooting silenced pistols while the body of their first victim tumbles 7 stories down to the ground floor. When Davey screams bloody murder to the security guard at the front desk, the officer investigates and finds…nothing. Not even a blood stain. This is, of course impossible, as any forensics team worth its salt would have found at least a fragment of the doomed man’s brains on the floor or the slugs from the many missed shots in the walls but…
No one believes David. Not even his father, who advises him to stop playing games, video, board, and otherwise. A baseball the boy left at the crime scene conveniently had his full name written on it much like Ethan Hawke’s jacket which had not only his name but address written on it in Explorers. Later a sticker on a game cartridge will reveal an address as well. What convenient clues. He gets a threatening phone call from the killers.
The next day, he pleads with his practical father not to leave him at home. It isn’t without good reason. Soon after, three men force their way into the Osborne residence breaking through doors, windows with fierce punches. Davey escapes. The adventure waiting for him pulls no punches. He is shot at, his friend kidnapped, his other friend murdered, and he is forced to assist in and actually participate in cold blooded murder at the behest of his imaginary friend.
It is quite a serious series of murders. At one point, a baddie croons to Davey that “there will be no niceties. I will shoot you in your kneecaps and then in your stomach and watch you while you suffer and die.” This is pretty dark for any film not just for a children’s flick.
There’s a nice coming of age moment redolent of the closing moments of Toy Story 3 albeit bloodstained and exponentially tragic. This is film is a bit unbalanced. It is slightly too violent for a children’s flick but too childish for a full on spy action film. Henry Thomas proves that he still has got it and we end the film feeling he has come a long way and is finally on the road to recovery.