25 August 2017 | codefool
Hard to get The Saint right
To know The Saint one must be truthful to the source material. The Saint as a character is brash, abrasive, annoyingly intelligent, and driven by a set a principals to do the right thing, even if "right" in any given instance is stealing, murder, or any other action that on the outside is technically a crime. "The ends justifies the means" is a kind of MO for The Saint, which creates a sort of dilemma - especially in the west - where we tend to regard all individuals - good and bad - to be subject to the same rules. But, is it really a crime if the subject had it coming to them? Such is life of The Saint - getting rich while sticking it to the bad guy. Or saving the girl. Or righting the wrong. Or insert cliché' here. Fun stuff all around.
Unfortunately, most of the texture of The Saint is lost in attempts to portray him just as a lovable, quip-flinging, thief. A sort of James Bond type who always has something witty to say at the right moment. Anyone who has read any of the Charteris novels would strongly disagree.
Which brings us to this latest attempt to put Saint on film. All the elements are there but watered down and cliché'd to the point of atrophy. Although this is the most lovingly adaptation attempt since the Roger Moore days. In short, I like this Saint, but the film won't get out of it's own way. There's been a strong push in Hollywood in recent decades to use technology as a panacea to whatever problem the antagonist might come across. Sixteen-inch steel vault door? No problem - just hack that sucker and in you go.
It gets real old real fast.
We want to see our heroes solve problems, not have them solved for them by inexplicable (and non-existent) technology. In the days of the original Saint - the 1920's and 1930's - you still had to do real detective work to solve mysteries. Now all one needs is a tablet and a wifi connection and you can tell everything about anything anytime anywhere.
Where's the fun in that?
So far as this film is concerned, this Simon Templar is more like the real Saint since Roger Moore - so watch it for that. Otherwise - or in addition to - go find a copy of Meet the Tiger and enjoy the real Saint.