Here's Val Kilmer in that delicately poised stage before he entered 'permanent chubby mode' and started knocking out stinkers. Everything about him in this, like the conditions on Earth for life, is just right: the briefcase, the mac, the slick hair, the beard (especially the beard), the walk (notice how his legs actually speed up into the path of the oncoming car), and last but certainly never not least the music. What this makes is a kick-ass opening sequence with nowt but bare essentials – a long unbroken shot of a man walking into a park.
So, how do you make a guy walking into a park look and feel great on screen? Well, you give Val a positively smoking look about him and cue those aggressive strings with a heavy beat, that's how. Note the snazzy camera action on the pan and zoom-out from his face when he almost gets nearly run over on purpose. He has the aura of a soul with an agenda, the attitude of someone on the edge. I was rooting for him at the end, let me tell'ya. He was in a tight situation, holed up in a bright sunny park waiting around for the phone to ring. By the time he made a break for it he'd been shot, with cops and dealers on his tail and his beautiful ex-wife waiting for him outside the open door of her car so they could make a promising future afresh together. It was nip and tuck if he would make it or not he was spilling so much money and blood. I'd never wanted anyone to get into a car so much. It was a tense and uplifting finale, I mean I was really like rooting for him, and for this reason, alongside some touching split-screen make-up calls with his estranged daughter (half the movie is telephone calls), I award Columbus Day 8.4 out of 10.
Our Val hasn't made a sterling performance like this since he played an altar ego mirror reflection assuming the form of Elvis Presley in True Romance (1996). Back then he uttered the immortal words, while pointing and clicking his fingers, “I like you, Clarence. Always have, always will.”